Sunday, December 18, 2011

Back to Ethiopia - Part 3

So, our little one didn't want to go to sleep on Thursday night. We realized later it was due to our goof up though...we let him have 2 naps that day because he wasn't feeling well. Never again! He showed more of his little stinkerness that night, but he also had really sweet cuddly moments too.

Friday was our last day in Ethiopia, and we were SO ready to be home. It was a pretty emotional day for both of us - we just were both overwhelmed with all of the newness and big changes, plus we hadn't slept or eaten much, and we were halfway across the world with 30 hours of travel and 4 flights looming in our near future.

We had to stop by the Hope office that morning to pick up Abe's passport and visa. We also wanted the staff to be able to say one last goodbye to him. A couple of them were teary-eyed when we left, but also very happy that Abe was going to finally be part of a family that will love and care for him. We came back to the hotel to begin packing and relax a bit before our long trip home. The reality of what we were doing set in fully for us that afternoon, and we had lots of talks, processing, and tears. It's a strange thing to much of this experience was tied up in that one trip...we just really wanted and needed to be HOME. We both felt much better after some rest and chatting with our parents.

By the time we needed to leave for the airport, we were feeling much better. The airport in Addis is C-R-A-Z-Y, just so you know. It's weird...there are just massive groups of people hanging out in the parking lot and in the main area. It's almost like it's a mall or something...people just go there to hang out. You go through security like 3 times, but I never really am sure anyone's paying attention to the scanners. The first time we did this it took forever to get through the first security line. This time, we had a little boy in a stroller so we got escorted right to the front. NICE! Already loving the perks of having a child. All day Friday I had been praying that the Lord would place other American adoptive parents on our flight from Addis to Frankfurt. I just really needed to see a friendly face that "gets it" and speaks our language. Well, our God delivered. As soon as we got in line to check-in, we saw a family that had been on our Frankfurt to Addis flight over and also at the Embassy. I hadn't gotten to speak to them before, but we had a chance to meet them in line. Oddly enough, the whole reason they were even on this particular flight was because of us, and we didn't even know it! They heard us at the Embassy saying we were leaving Friday night. They were scheduled to leave Saturday and felt like we did - so ready to get home, so they contacted their travel agency and got on our flight at like 1am on Thursday night. I'm so glad the Lord worked this out for them! Once we got through security and were finally at our gate, they found us and we all sat and talked for awhile while we waited to board our plane. That was just a really nice time. I think it helped to calm all of us. There were quite a few other adoptive families on our flight as well...some bringing their kids home and some who had just had their court date. There was one couple diagonal to us on the plane that kept watching little Abe and how he was doing. I recognized that look of longing and curiosity. As we got off the plane I asked if they were adopting. They had just had their court date and were traveling with another couple coming back from their court date as well. They were all Americans and were very friendly.

Our next flight was supposed to be from Frankfurt to Zurich, and then from Zurich to Newark, NJ and then home from there. When you are flying internationally you have a bunch of extra security get used to whipping out your passport to do almost anything. (I halfway expected to have to show it to use the restroom.) We got to our first security check in Frankfurt and were told we could not go on to Zurich because Abe does not have the proper visa to travel within Europe. This was especially frustrating because our travel agency was told specifically to make sure we were not routed to places where this would be an issue. (It's too much to explain, but if you're curious, you can google Schengen Visa). So...we had to head to the Lufthansa service counter and see what could be done. We were originally told we would not be able to get out until the next day...UM, NO. I immediately started praying. Then some tickets popped up, but we're talking thousands of dollars and we had to get clearance from some supervisor, and blah, blah, blah...lots of obstacles, etc., etc. Still praying...staying calm...trusting that God has this and whatever happens is actually going to be His BEST. Finally...we find out that we can get on a United flight out in a few hours...but Ben would have to go to the United counter and get everything all straightened out. This meant going through security...and Abe wasn't allowed to go through there until this was all settled and he had a boarding pass for that flight. So....Mommy and Abe had to stay in this part of the airport and wait while Daddy got all of that settled...with no way to communicate with each other since that would cost us an arm and a leg. Yikes. A little nervous at this point. So, guess what I did? PRAY again. I got his diaper changed, and we found that we could wait in the McDonald's...thank you, Lord! I got us in there and got us some snacks and prayed that I would find some Americans...and guess what...there were the 2 couples I met as we were getting of the plane. They were so kind to let me sit near them and they kept me company for the 2 hours I waited for Ben. Praise the Lord! Ben finally came back with our boarding passes, and we were all good to go. We got to fly straight from Frankfurt to Newark, and at NO CHARGE!!!! The man at the United counter is from Africa and said that he didn't want to charge us anything since we're bringing Abe home from his home country. Who says there is not a God, or that He is not intimately involved in our lives?

Abe slept through the entire flight from Addis to Frankfurt (another praise), and slept the first couple of hours on the 2nd flight. He did pretty well on all of the flights and did really well in his stroller. We were so proud of him! He had a few fussy moments, but we handled them and really, we were so surprised at how well he did. I cannot tell you how happy we were to finally land in the US! I sang every patriotic song I could think of, and we ate some McDonalds...real McDonalds, not the weird German version. :) We got through Customs and Immigration without a hitch, and we were homeward bound! It was so good to touch down in Dallas and see our parents waiting for us. That night was kind of a blur, but it was so good to have them there with us to help us and get to know their little grandson. It was a really great reunion! SO good to finally be HOME with our SON! Praise the Lord for all He has done and all that He is!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Back to Ethiopia - Part 2

So, the first day we had Abe he was really, really sick. Runny nose, chest cough, glassy eyes...we took his temperature and found he had a 101.5 fever, so we immediately began dosing him with children's Tylenol and Benadryl. This all explained his overall lack of personality. Of course he was a little scared and having to get used to being with just us in a totally new place, but he really wasn't expressing much of anything that first day. However, after having the medicine in him for a good 24 hours, everything changed!

The first night we had him we tried to feed him and he wouldn't take anything from us. We were getting a little bit worried...especially knowing that we had a few more days before we would be home and he was sick. That night he slept super soundly - although his breathing was really labored. He slept in his crib for most of the night, but we put him in bed with us finally because we were worried about him. It took me awhile to go to sleep - jetlag, and I'm a super light sleeper - so I spent a long time praying over him that night. I cannot tell you the closeness Ben and I have both felt to the Lord and to each other since getting Abe. Something about raising and caring for a child that draws you to the Father and to your spouse. I love it. We've said this was the hardest week of our lives but with the best results - our son, and closeness. Abe slept really well and we could tell he was feeling better the next day.

He ate from us on Thursday! Total turn-around. He still didn't have tons of personality, but as soon as I opened the curtains in our hotel room he pointed outside and began to chatter away in his little language. That was so good to see! We found that he really loved some of the toys we brought him, so at least we could tell he was settling in and was happy. He had his first poopy diaper this morning too. I include this bit of information for those of you who know me and my INCREDIBLY SENSITIVE GAG REFLEX well. All I can say is praise the Lord for my husband! He had to take the reins while I held out wipes and the odor masking bag (HA!) to wrap his diaper in. The minute he opened that dirty diaper I began to gag in about 3-4 second intervals. It was so hilarious to me that I began to laugh uncontrollably at the same time, which then caused tears. Ben was also CRACKING UP! Poor Abe...he had no idea what was going on! We finally got through it though. That boy has some STINKY DIAPERS!!!

This was the day of our Embassy interview, so we had a little bit more of a schedule that morning. After playtime and breakfast, we all started to get ready. We changed Abe, and put him in a red polo and some khaki pants and we were all packed and ready to go. Then....he completely wet his diaper and soaked his pants. Really? (I know, I know, many of you parents out there are just laughing...this is only the beginning.) Thankfully I had packed 1 extra pair of "nice" pants. Whew.

Off to the Embassy. We were a little later than we had hoped to be because of that last minute diaper change and needing to print something off in the business center, but we still arrived about 15 minutes early. They give pretty much everyone a 1pm appointment time. The earlier you get there, the lower your number is and the sooner you actually have your appointment. We got to the front of the US Embassy and there was a security guard there asking for our passports. So, no big deal, our passports are always right where we keep them. Uh....not this time. I could NOT find my passport and was FREAKING OUT! This caused quite a bit of stress over the next few hours as we were leaving for the US the next day!!! Thank goodness we were at the US Embassy! The guard accepted my Drivers License instead - praise Jesus!!! We got in, got our #, and sat down to wait. The Embassy basically has a big waiting room and these little booths with windows all lined out across the front of the room. Kind of like what you might see at a DMV or something. They had Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz on the TV...ha. America. We sat and waited for awhile and saw a couple of the other families from our Frankfurt to Addis flight come in with their brand new kids. So neat! Then we smelled it....oh, can this boy poop! It was Mommy's turn to change his diaper - and my first time all by myself. And if you read about our first experience earlier, you can imagine my FEAR AND DREAD. We did pretty well though. Mommy has learned to take big breaths and hold them while changing Abe's diapers. Whatever works, people.

A couple of minutes after we changed Abe, our name was called. We walked up to our booth and were SO happy to see Americans and hear their wonderful accents!!! :) They were really nice, and the whole process was super easy and smooth. They basically have you raise your right hand and swear that the information you've provided is true. Then they ask you a few questions and give you information about your case. We found out we should have received some pertinent information after our court date...we'll be discussing this with our agency. :/ They explained a little of why our case was delayed - inconsistencies in the mom's testimony at court and at the Embassy (she's super young). They still had some qualms, but not enough to keep our case from proceeding...and there's no way to reverse an Ethiopian court decision anyway. So, they said we should receive all of these documents that we were missing a couple of weeks after we arrive home. And those will help us understand a little more of why things took so long. We should get some more of Abe's history as well.

It was so good to be done with everything! Abe was finally and officially ours! We got back to the hotel room and FOUND MY PASSPORT! (It was in my coat pocket.) Then we took Abe for his first stroller ride around the grounds of our hotel. He didn't really perk up at all and was getting pretty cranky...we had started to see his "2 year old" come out this day. We were both kind of struggling through this - we just didn't expect him to feel comfortable enough with us this first week to hit and throw. That wasn't his personality back in July. He would just shut down when he was scared or upset. The whole thing was becoming very real and we both just needed to be honest with each other, allow ourselves to feel & process this whole thing. Everyone has since told us this is very natural for new parents no matter the situation, and that it's a good thing. So, there you have it. We were pretty discouraged heading back up to our hotel room - we just couldn't seem to get him to perk up. When we got back we thought we'd log on to Skype and see if our families were up. Ben just happened to put Abe in his lap and turn on some music, and that was all it took. Almost immediately his personality came out - he smiled really big, began talking, and bobbing his head to the music. The rest of the night was super fun! We played and was really good. So, we found the key to unlocking him! MUSIC!

We were so thankful to the Lord for providing for us on Thursday - finding my passport, clearing us at the US Embassy, and bringing Abe out of his funk. We truly have seen Him go before us through this entire process. He is such a good God.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Back to Ethiopia - Part 1

I know it's been SO long since I've blogged. Honestly, I just had a hard time putting "pen to paper" during our LONG wait. When we left Addis in July, we were told we would be coming back again in 4-8 weeks. Our return trip ended up being about 4 months later. I won't bore you with all of the details of things that occurred during our wait...let's just say that the US Government doesn't work quite as quickly as the Ethiopian government. But...their motivation is absolutely for the best of the children and families. We learned more today at our Embassy interview why our case was prolonged. That may have to come in another post.

We found out last Wednesday, November 30th that we were approved and got our Embassy date the next day. Then it was a MAD DASH to try to get airline tickets at a reasonable price, hotel reservations, and get us packed & ready to go. The Lord went before us in all things. On Wednesday, the hotel we had stayed at in July told us there were NO rooms available for the first 2 days of our trip. We kind of panicked as hotel rooms were hard to come by and we really preferred to stay somewhere "familiar." The next morning, a room became available for our entire stay! Also, we had been given an amount by my grandfather to help offset airline costs. It was looking like that was not going to cover everything...then again the Lord came through and we got tickets for $600 less than the amount given to us. So many things fell in to place. We know the Lord was at work in all of it. (and still is)

We left on Monday afternoon and had a short layover in Frankfurt, Germany, then on to Addis. We kind of felt like pros this go around. Everything was much less stressful...which was good because once Abe came, a whole different kind of stress entered the picture. :) (good stress, of course) We got checked in, and found that our hotel was completely decked out for Christmas. AWESOME! We got some good sleep that first night (Tuesday night in Addis) and couldn't wait to finally have our GOTCHA DAY with Abe the next day! :)

Here's a video of our first time with Abe again after many months. (*note: most of the videos are with Daddy...mommy did the videoing this time so I'm not in many.) He actually was all smiles when we entered the room! That was an incredible blessing! We didn't get pictures or videos of our first encounter with him this time b/c we wanted that to be a private moment. So, he was pretty shy again when we actually picked him up and held him, but that's just his personality at first. AND...we found out later that day that he was super, super sick. Mommy & Daddy got him feeling much better once we had some time with him at the hotel and got some medicine in him. Anyway, here's a video of our first few moments with him.

We spent some time there with the caregivers and they had another Coffee Ceremony for us. YUM! Then we got to take him back to the hotel and just get to know each other. Pretty special night! Here's a "teaser" of our first morning together. Will post again soon with more videos and highlights of our first full day as a family of 3 (well, 3 1/2, let's not forget sweet Izzie!).

Abby & Ben.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ethiopia Day 4

(written on the actual 4th day of our trip)

Today was a really good day. Eramais took us to Tomoca Kaffee for some more Ethiopian coffee, and that was really fun. We invited him to join us, and he was really pleased. :) He's such a great guy and has been so helpful. If you ever come to Addis, you need to call Hope Adoption and ask for Eramais' number. I guarantee you he would love to drive you, and he'll make your experience great.

After Tomoca, he drove us up to a high point in the city so we could get some good city view pictures. It's also an area with lots of big houses (we're talking houses that cost over $3,000 USD to rent per month!). Crazy. I posted some pictures from this little excursion. The weather was so awesome up on the hill - cool breeze. Everywhere we go there are children, and they just flock to us and look up and stare. So precious. We had a really good conversation about Jesus with Eramais as well. He is an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian, which differs from the Protestant Christians here (most of the Hope staff are Protestant). He explained some of the differences - it's comparable to Catholicism, but Eramais doesn't really buy all of those parts. He said he believes only in the Jesus of the Bible. If you add anything or take anything away from that, he has no part in it.

After this, it was time to see our little Buster boy at Hope. He was still napping, but we both really enjoy the time with the office staff at Hope while we wait for him to wake up. I think we all get more and more comfortable with each other each day. The language barrier is less and less of an issue...and the bond of Jesus Christ can overcome any barrier anyway. So, we had another nice time visiting. Plus, one of Abe's little friends (Elazar or Alazar...not sure which spelling) was awake and hanging out with us in the office. He's really taken to us and we enjoy him. He is actually going home next week with his forever family. How exciting!!! I wish we could meet them. He will be a complete blessing...sweet little boy.

We had some really good time with Abe today. He recognizes us very readily now, and he reaches for us when the caretakers hand him over. He's still not saying our names or really talking much, but he's showing other signs of attachment. He wants us to hold him and be with him the entire time. He's very curious and extremely smart...he likes to use his hands. We sang "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" to him today and he seemed to like that. He keeps his head really close to mine, and loves to hold on tight to Daddy. He's such a little cuddlebunny! Ugh, we love that!!! We also hummed a little "Lord of the Rings" theme music to him...I mean, hey, he's gotta learn sometime...might as well begin now, right? "Train up a child in the way he should go...." Hahaha. :)

It was harder for me to leave him today when we had to go. We stayed almost until closing. Another American family arrived today and our driver is also driving them, so we got to stay later. I can't believe we have to leave him tomorrow, and we have no idea when we're coming back. We just PRAY that he will remember us. We are leaving a picture of us with Hope, and I'm confident they'll show it to him each day and say "Mommy and Daddy." They are so great. We'll also bring back another of the same Scentsy Buddy with us the next trip so he'll hopefully associate us with the one he already has.Please pray for this time that we'll be apart...the next trip will be hard enough on all of us. We just hope that we don't have to start completely over with attaching and bonding too. in everything, it's all in God's most capable and loving hands. He is so good to us.

Not sure if we'll get to write tomorrow...we're still trying to plan out our day before we leave for the airport. Our plane takes off from Addis around 2:50pm Texas time (10:50pm Addis). It's about 7 hours, then we have a 5 hour layover in Frankfurt. The 2nd flight takes off around 3:30am Texas time and will arrive in Dallas around 2:30pm. Ugh, already dreading the exhaustion....but hopefully I'll sleep A LOT on the planes. I plan to take more meds this time, not necessarily for the anxiety but to really help me sleep. It's a long trip. Please pray for our safety, for smooth flights and layover, and that I will do even better on these flights than I did on the way over. Also, pray for a good last day with Abe tomorrow. I'm about to cry thinking about leaving my precious little boy...oh, how we will miss him! But, soon we'll be united as a family forever. Cannot wait!

We love you and miss you! Cannot wait to see you soon! Selam! (peace!)

Ethiopia Day 3

(written on the actual 3rd day of our trip)

Whew! What a day! Today started with court. Our appointment was at 9:00am, so we got there at about 8:45, because you know, you don't want to be late to court in a foreign country. Well...apparently the judge doesn't feel the same way. Our driver, Eramais, said she's always late and it drives him crazy. :) I don't know what time she got there, but we waited 2 hours in the waiting room, which continued to get more and more crowded. There were many locals there as well as many adoptive families from other countries - Germany, Italy, US. For a while we were the only Americans in the waiting room, and the swell of foreign languages was getting a little overwhelming, and then all of a sudden 4 people walked in wit

h American accents. We heard a big "Good morning!" that was finished off with a big ole American smile, and I thought I was going to cry! There was a couple from WI and a man from NE and a woman from MI. They were very friendly (man, you really can tell the difference between Europeans and Americans when you're in a foreign country), and they were also believers. So nice to meet brothers

and sisters in Christ. Slowly the crowd started dwindling as the judge began seeing cases. We finally got called in, and we were in her office for literally 2 minutes! Really? We had heard it was quick and easy, but that was an understatement. She asks a few questions: Do you have children of your own? Have you had training for international adoption? Are you ready for this to be permanent? Then that's it. She said we should just be waiting on our letter of recommendation from MOWA...this could take a few weeks (or more, or less).

While at court, we met the manager of Faith Children's Home
(Adane's orphanage). His name is Yacob (Jacob), and he is also a brother in Christ. You could see Jesus in him immediately - what a neat guy. We three became instant friends. After court our driver took us, Yacob, and Etabes to visit Faith. That was really neat. It's actually very nice for an Ethiopian orphanage. The children seem happy and they are WELL cared for. They get education, have access to healthcare, and there is a good caretaker to child ratio. When we walked down the stairs to see the older children, Yacob had them sing for us. :) We didn't have time to catch it on video, but it was so sweet. There are about 65 children in the orphanage...we are SO thankful that Adane spent his time there. It's probably the best situation he could have been in. Our God is GOOD. We hope Adane (Abe) will one day see God's hand at work even in his difficult beginnings. The orphanage has MANY needs...we exchanged email addresses and plan to make the needs known to our amazing church family (whom we praised to Yacob), and
we're confident that Lake Ridge and our friends can help make a difference for these wonderful people of God doing His work in Addis.

After Faith, we stopped at a museum in Addis to kill some time while Adane and the kiddos were having their nap. It was interesting…but we are pretty ready to get back to American culture. Then we headed to Hope to see Abe (yes, I know I am using his names interchangeably…I have a feeling that will continue for a while). He was still napping…that kid can sleep through a hurricane, I think. We got to chat for quite a while with one of the male workers - Tamarat. He is awesome too! Another brother in Christ. We had some great conversations…he hopes to come to America or Canada one day. He studied applied physics at one of the universities here – really intelligent guy, and also super friendly, and he loves the children. These are some of the greatest people I’ve ever met. We had another cup of Ethiopian coffee (SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOOOD!!!!), and enjoyed laughing and exchanging stories about our different cultures. It’s funny…they have never heard of Mexican food. We had to explain what a taco is.

And finally, we got to visit with Abe. It was kind of a weird day…he was really attached to us physically – always wanting to be held by one of us. But at the same time, he was pretty despondent. We think it’s because he wasn’t feeling well. He may have some sort of respiratory infection or a cold or allergies…his nose is always running, eyes watering and glassy, kind of a thick cough…it’s that way with all of the kids. I think once he gets here and has an opportunity for better nutrition, healthcare, etc. he’ll start to perk up. We’re thankful for every visit though. And, we had one really big breakthrough today – he let us feed him! One of the workers just handed us his bowl when it was time for the kids to eat, and he ate from me and then Ben no questions asked. That was AWESOME. Also, he LOVES his Scentsy Buddy monkey that we brought him. He’s more and more attached to it every day.

So, there’s always a lot of good with the not so great…it’s part of the process, and we are learning to adjust expectations. We are praying for the Lord to knit that bond between the three of us and sustain it. We trust Him with EVERYTHING. It really is our only option, isn’t it? Wow, we’ve learned so much. I pray we apply these lessons to everything in our lives going forward. GOD IS IN CONTROL. HE CREATES ALL THINGS AND SUSTAINS ALL THINGS. HE HAS A PLAN. IT IS A PLAN FOR OUR GOOD. WE GET TO GLORIFY HIM. HE LOVES US. OBEDIENCE IS WHAT IS REQUIRED. So many good lessons.

Anyway, this was a long note…thank you for praying for us! We appreciate and covet your continued prayers. Also pray for the other families here this week for court and to pick up their children…we are seeing both, and our hearts go out to them. We love you all and miss you greatly!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ethiopia Day 2

I realize it's been way too long since I blogged about our first day in Ethiopia. The amount I would love to share is overwhelming, and every time I sit down to write, I just can't seem to get "pen to paper." But, I'm going to follow through today, though I most likely won't include quite as much detail as my first entry.

Ben and I really felt the effects of jet lag on Tuesday night. We went to bed around 10pm and were wide awake around 2am for about 4 hours. Miserable. But, we made the best of it. We watched some Discovery Channel, talked about the previous day's events, and laugheda lot. Around 5am, I heard a strange noise coming from outside of our hotel. It didn't stop, so finally I opened up the door to our balcony, and this is what we heard:

It was the Muslim Call to Prayer. There was a mosque not far from where we were staying. This was pretty eerie, and very sad. We went back inside and I began to pray for the souls of those who were praying to a god who is not living, and who does not exist. I told Ben we sh
ould start singing worship songs at the top of our lungs, but we decided the other hotel guests might not appreciate that.

We finally got some rest, and when we woke up we got ready to go back to the Transition Home to spend some time with Abe. We arrived during naptime, so we got Abe out of bed and we took turns cuddling him while he slept. He is a GOOD sleeper!

When he woke up, he was still a little unsure of opening up completely to us, but he had definitely warmed up to us since the day before. The nurse offered to let us feed
him, but he wasn't having it! That was a little discouraging, and scared us a little bit, honestly. Would he be comfortable with us when we take him home? Will he let us feed him on the plane or pitch a fit? We had to just adjust expectations once again and realize this is only the 2nd day we've spent with him. This is normal. He does eat well though, and that is good. He's pretty content, actually. The nurse also got him up and helped him walk, or "DAH-dee" in Amharic. He likes to walk, although he can't quite do it on his own yet. After that, we just spent some time playing. This is when we realized that he LOVES wearing Daddy's hat. :)

Overall, Day 2 was a good day. It had it's challenges, and we went back to our hotel with a lot on our minds. It was really good to Skype with family that day and just kind of "detox" in the room with Discovery Channel for a little bit. Later than night we decided to try the Italian restaurant at our hotel. It was really good, actually! We had a nice table in the back with a really pretty view.

It was good to just kind of process the events of the day together and enjoy each other. All in all, it was a hard, but good day.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ethiopia Day 1

We slept through the night our first night in Addis, which was wonderful! We woke up between 8 and 9 and started getting ready. Ben began calling the number we were given for our agency in Ethiopia around 9am, and we could not get through. It was kind of frustrating because you can't call out yourself - you have to call the front desk and ask them to call out. That guy was probably really annoyed with us. :) Finally, after about an hour and a half, I took matters into my own hands. I looked up the number for the American Embassy in Addis and got through to them. They transferred me to a super helpful lady in Consular Affairs, and within 30 minutes our driver from Hope called our hotel room. Crazy! He picked us up about 10 minutes later, and there the adventure really began...

Our driver's name is Ermias {pronounced "Air-ah-may-us"}. It's Jeremiah in English, so he said we could call him Jeremy if we wanted to, but we stuck with Ermias. Gotta be authentic, right? He was really friendly, and he immediately put us at ease. He had a little white car that he apparently rents from someone so he can drive families around for Hope. We started off toward Hope - not knowing if we were going to meet Abe there or what. Ermias told us he needed to get some gas, so we headed toward the nearest gas station. This is what is interesting...when you need gas, you pull up in the general direction of the gas station and honk. If they have gas they signal to you, if not, they ignore you. They did not have gas. Ermias
seemed frustrated, but he said he had enough to get us to Hope, which was back the other direction. So we started out again and passed our hotel, and then had to go up this hill which was also a big curve. We didn't make it up the hill. The car stalled out about's a little video for you.

We were there for about 10 or 15 minutes. Ermias was frantically calling all of his friends with cars to see if anyone had one he could borrow. At this point, we had no idea what was about to happen. But, we surprisingly stayed calm. And I didn't even take a Xanax that morning - it was all Holy Spirit. :) He's definitely capable. Finally, he got a hold of a friend who could help a
nd within minutes we were back on our way in a new car. Lots of people had warned me about the driving in Ethiopia - honestly, it didn't phase me at all. It's not that much different from the driving in Dallas - except we actually have regulations you're supposed to follow. Ermias says, "The government gives us regulations for driving, but we drive by negotiation." Perfect way to put it. It works. He drove us through the city and to Hope and we had some good conversation along the way.

We pulled up to Hope and were escorted inside.
Everyone is SO friendly. We met Tsige {pronounced "seh-gaye"} who works in the office. I had heard her name before, so I felt some sense of relief at a little familiarity. She asked us who our child was, we told her "Adane," and she left the room.

After a couple of minutes we were taken into the Infant Room at Hope - Adane was there! We thought he was still in the orphanage, so we were so excited! We got to meet him for the first time! It's difficult to communicate the emotions and thoughts of our first meeting. We both will tell you they are not what we thought they would be. A picture was painted for us of our first meeting before we left - we thought there would be this little boy who would be anxiously awaiting his parents and he would run to us and we would embrace and weep with tears of joy and excitement. There was definitely joy and excitement, but our little boy was much smaller and younger than we had anticipated, and didn't quite understand the situation. Also, we had immediate concern over his health and welfare as soon as we saw him. He's healthy, but does have some minor health issues as all of the children do. We immediately knew and felt that he was our son, so we were curious, concerned, excited, humbled...overwhelmed. I held him and we asked questions about him and just tried to get to know him a little bit. I can't post our initial video here until we pass court, but that will say it all and explain a lot. Abe was very scared - his little mouth tips down, and every once in a while a silent tear would come down his face. Poor baby. It took him a couple of hours to relax and warm up. We have videos from later that same day where he really starts to open up and take to us. It's just a process...but a good process. It's like any other new family - whether you just gave birth and are bringing your baby home for the first time, or you're adopting. You all have to get to know each other. We are a family. We were immediately hit with that truth - Abe is not a project, or a mission, we're not the rescuers....he's our son and we're his parents, just like any other family God puts together. It was awesome to immediately know that and feel that. We praise God for that truth.

We spent some time cuddling and playing with Abe in the Infant Room. At one point, his daddy says that he felt this overwhelming sense of warmth while he was holding Abe. {don't get too excited...Abe had wet his diaper all over Ben's legs} It was actual warmth, haha! They use cloth diapers at Hope, and they just don't do the job. We got one of the nannies and she took him off to change his diaper and his clothes. Tsige invited us to come into another room where the rest of the nannies were. Apparently, they were preparing a traditional Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony for us! This was awesome!

{Tsige is the one on the right} They roast the beans on the flame, then boil the water, then crush the beans outside {can't show that video yet b/c Abe is in it}, and then combine everything again on the flame. They also make popcorn on the same flame. This coffee is seriously the best coffee I've ever had. We tried other Ethiopian coffee in Addis, but this lady makes the best!

We had a really great time in this room because all of the workers were there and then they brought in all of the babies. That's when Abe really started warming up. We learned a few things about him on Day 1:
1. He's not a big crier - he won't pitch a fit (at least not yet) to let you know he's sad or upset.
2. He is a "wimp" - he'll do this little (CUTE) whimper cry when we wants something or doesn't like something. But he gets over it really quickly.
3. He likes his Mommy. :)
4. He thinks Daddy is funny. :)
5. He's a cuddler!!!!
6. He's really content.

All in all, it was a really great day. When we left he waved "bye" to both of us. {can't wait to post those videos! he has the cutest wave!} It was hard to leave, but we were both emotionally and mentally drained. Ermias drove us back to our hotel, and we holed up processing the events of the day. We got to Skype with some family and friends, and we ordered room service. We were exhausted! But so thankful for the first day of the rest of our lives.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Preparing for the Trip

Well, we are now back from our first trip to Ethiopia. It is strange to be back, but good. It seems like we were gone much longer than a week. It is really difficult to describe just how foreign it felt to be there - in so many ways. We really had to depend on the Lord for every single thing, as we really have had to do throughout this entire process. It's been such a great lesson for us. You know, Ben said something in one of his Facebook status updates before we left that really struck a cord with me:
"I sometimes wonder at a God that would call someone who is afraid of flying to adopt a little boy from Ethiopia. Our 'limits' are not His limits. He is faithful."
I remember being 17 and at a youth camp in Tyler, Texas when I really understood the Lord's call on our lives to live completely for Him. At that time we called it "being called to the ministry" - I later learned that each one of us are called to ministry (obedience, fulfilling our purpose to glorify God in all things, spreading His Gospel). I remember having an immediate fear that this might mean God would call me to Africa. I would sometimes pray and ask that He not call me that far. I shudder at the thought of that now. What if I had decided to disobey? Or to simply ignore what He was showing me? I would have missed out on
so much - namely, MY SON. We do not know the Lord's full plan for our lives, but we do know that it is a good plan. We have to trust Him and walk in obedience - no matter the cost. For me at this time, that meant facing one of my biggest fears 4 times in one week. It meant traveling halfway around the world to meet a little boy whom I've never met and call him "son." It meant learning to sacrifice and give of myself in so many ways - being stretched and molded in areas of my life that I did not want to give up. It meant a complete change of perspective, blind faith, and exposing all of my weaknesses. It has meant so much.

When I first began to struggle with anxiety, I would sit in my closet at home weeping and begging the Lord to take this "thorn from my flesh." I did not understand why God would want me to endure this struggle. In the years since, I've seen tiny glimpses of His purpose, but this adoption process has blown the cover off. I won't pretend to have complete insight into His plans and purposes, but I will tell you that I have seen and experienced the hand of God at work through this weakness in me. About 2 days before we left for Ethiopia I pleaded with the Lord to take away my panic and fear. I was an emotional and mental wreck. The thought of the long flights, all of the unknowns, the fear of not bonding with Abe or him not accepting was just almost too much to bear. But therein was the problem - I was trying to bear it all alone. Sure, I asked for prayer, I prayed
myself, but there was a disconnect. It wasn't until I actually had to step out in faith and obedience that I began to see the Lord's purpose. Where I used to fall to my knees and beg the Lord to have mercy on me and remove this struggle from my life, I now bow on my knees before Him and thank Him for entrusting it to me. When we cast our cares upon Christ, it enables us to be obedient. He will carry our burdens so that we can be about His work. I do not wish to be boastful - for this is all about Christ. I know that I must rely on the Holy Spirit to continue this work in me, but I am so thankful for the opportunity to suffer so that I can learn what it is to be dependent on Christ and to trust Him. I pray that I can pass this on to our son.
"I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." - 2 Corinthians 12:5b-10

This process is difficult, but it is amazing. I am in awe of how God creates families and instills love inside of us for a child we've never met. We miss our little Abe so much already, but we trust the Lord's timing to bring us together. I am thankful that we had a week with him, and because I know my God is a good God with
a good plan, I can also be thankful for this time apart. He is going to teach us something new, and He'll be revealing Himself in a unique way to us in this time. We are so grateful to each of you who have been holding us up in prayer. I think of you as my Aaron and Hur from Exodus 17. When I could not pray for myself, you prayed for me. When we felt all alone, you lifted us up. When we've had a need, you've been there. I feel like a broken record in these blogs because I constantly thank you...please know I am not repeating myself. We are truly grateful for each of you, and we thank our gracious Lord for you.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Ethiopia..."

So, before we left my mother-in-law came up with the great idea of keeping a list of all of the funny & random things we experience and any neat things we can be thankful for. So, I've been attempting to make said list. Here are a few funny things and some pretty neat ways God has shown Himself on our trip so far. ENJOY!

1. We are rock stars – we boarded and de-boarded the planes in Germany via those super cool outdoor stairs.
2. Germans eat weird stuff for breakfast (sorry to my German friends).
3. We heard a lot of “Auf weidersein” on the flights and it made us think of that Mary Tyler Moore episode….(look it up)
4. Met a lady in the airport bathroom (if you can call it that) that works for the Clinton Foundation. I think Hillary is here in Africa now.
5. So thankful English is a second language here…although we have learned some Amharic and like to trot it out with the locals. They always smile and laugh. ☺
6. So much for getting our visas beforehand to avoid the long line of people getting it at the airport. Guess which line was longer?
7. Some foreigners do not understand the meaning of “single file line.” It creates havoc in airport customs lines. Pretty sure the customs officers do not want you approaching their desks in a horde.
8. Getting out of the airport in Ethiopia was CRAZY. I mean CRAZY. I have stories.
9. Finally got to our hotel….the bed was so close we could smell it (not really smell it, but you get the idea)….almost finished checking in…..and then…..they guy’s stapler ran out of staples. Really?
10. It literally took 2 hours to get a hold of our adoption agency here on Tuesday morning. *Note: Ethiopia does not have Call Waiting. ** Also: They are not in as big of a hurry as you are. *** So, how did we get in touch with them, you ask? I called the American Embassy Consulate, of course! We got the job DONE, American style! Driver called us and arrived in 10 minutes. BAM.
11. We LOVE our driver, Ermias (pronounced like "air-ah-may-is" Jeremiah in English, but we call him by his real name). He picked us up and immediately made us feel comfortable, BUT…a few funny things happened. A) He needed fuel so here’s what happens…you pull up near the “gas station” and honk. They signal you if they have gas. This one did not. He says, “No worries.” B) About 3 minutes after that we’re driving up a hill and the car quits working. Yeah, we looked like idiots on the side of the road. People kept walking by, shaking their heads…it was funny. Ermias called a friend who met us and leant him his car. (the people here are really nice). So, it ended up fine, but it was an interesting first morning here, for sure. ☺

Ben and Abby

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Items for the Orphanage

If anyone would like to contribute to Abe's orphanage, here is a list of supplies they accept and that we can fit in our suitcases. We will try to take a load over on both trips:

Baby powder
Hand sanitizer
Antibiotics syrupMulti Vitamins syrup & tablets for different age groups
Anti fungal ointment
Diaper rash cream
Coloring Books and CrayonsChildren’s books
Baby bottles
Baby t-shirtsBaby sweaters
Hats for the babies
Towels for the babies
Pictures to be colored
Tooth past and brushPedialyteLice shampoo
Alcohol swab

**** EMAIL ME @ to arrange getting the items to us before this Sunday. ****

Thank you!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Catching Up on Summer

So, it is definitely summer. I know this because A) It's HOT and B) Ben and I are never home. Since my last post about our court date we've been to South Carolina for a mission trip and New Mexico for youth camp. We leave again Sunday for our first trip to Ethiopia! We'll be home for about 2-3 weeks and then it's back to New Mexico for Collegiate Week (one of my favorite weeks of the year). We could very well turn right around to head to Ethiopia again after that trip...It's a crazy summer!

I just wanted to catch you up on a few things. First of all, let me just say that I L-O-O-O-O-V-V-V-E youth ministry. It's my passion, and I am so thankful to be able to minister to and hang out with our students. It's super fun to be part of this with my incredible husband too. Summer is crazy, but it's so fun and so special. Here's a little taste of what we've been up to so far:

Ben and I and one of our youth leaders took 10 girls to Victory Ranch in South Carolina last month for about a week. Victory Ranch is a retreat center for the military serving at Fort Jackson. Each weekend groups of either male or female soldiers get to come to the ranch for 25 hours of rest, Bible study, fellowship, fun, and home cooked meals! We went up earlyto help prepare the ranch for the incoming female soldiers and to spend time with them during their stay. We also had the opportunity to hang out with male & female soldiers at the Fortress Coffee House on the base at Fort Jackson. Many of us were able to build relationships and share the Gospel during the weekend. I think each of us came away with a new perspective of the military, and a great respect and appreciation for those who serve and sacrifice for us. It was an incredible week of relationship building within our own group as well. We all hope to go back again!

Last week we took about 60 students to FUGE Camp at Glorieta, NM. This year our junior high students participated in Centrifuge, and many of our high school students and leaders had the opportunity to do hands-on mission work in M-Fuge (Mission Fuge). That was a GREAT experience, and one we'll continue to offer to high schoolers. We had the opportunity to choose from different mission tracks: Childrens Ministry, Social Ministry, Creative Arts, Games & Rec, or PCY (painting/construction/yardwork). We had students and/or adults in just about every category. Everyone was stretched, encouraged, worn out and blessed. The band for the week was Downhere (one of our group's favorites), and they were really great and very personable again this year. I have a lot of respect for them, and of course I LOVE their music. :) Our speaker was Landon Dowden - check him out if you've never heard of him. He brought the Word of God each night and exemplified what it means to really live a life centered around the Gospel. Our students really related to him, and he showed us that you do not need to add anything to the Gospel. That's one thing I really love about our students. They are mature in their faith, and even those that are not quite there yet have a desire to be there. Our group always stands out when we are at camp. One of our seniors even said on the way back, "I would be really disappointed if we had things like Wii's or gaming systems in our youth room. We don't need that distraction." We know we're so blessed with these students who want to walk alongside us and pursue Christ. If you are a parent of one of our youth - THANK YOU. There were so many things that stood out to me in the morning and evening sessions. I'm going to list just a few things that really grabbed me.

1. RELATING TO THE LOST: "Lost people do lost things. If we are going to be in their lives, it's going to be messy. But praise the Lord someone related to us when we were lost." - Landon Dowden preaching from Colossians 1:21-23

2. RELATING TO THOSE IN AUTHORITY: "When you create everything, sustain everything, but need nothing, then you can be King." - Landon Dowden preaching from Psalm 95
"We are a country obsessed with our rights, but we should be obsessed with our Gospel responsibilities." - Landon Dowden
"Disobedience is never worth what it costs us....we should fear disobedience more than death." - Landon Dowden

3. RELATING TO FAMILY & FRIENDS: "Do our family and friends think of us as people who refresh their hearts or burden their hearts?" - Landon Dowden
"Some Christians sow to the flesh every day and wonder why they don't reap holiness...God is not mocked" - Landon Dowden in response to Galatians 5

4. RELATING TO THOSE THAT HURT US: "The Gospel of Christ transforms the way we treat those who have hurt us the most." - Landon Dowden

It was really an incredible week. The Lord allowed me to have some great conversations with a few of the girls, and He began accountability between a few of the students. Many called their parents in response to the session on Relating to Authority. It was just a week filled with service and obedience. I pray that continues in all of our hearts and lives. I hope each of you have had a great summer thus far! I'm sure I'll be blogging more as we approach our trip and when we return. Thank you so much for your prayers!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Long Awaited Day has come!


I think we're both still in shock! I know I am! We were actually in Babies R Us today checking out a few of the big items we still need for Abe (carseat, highchair) and Ben got an email from our agency saying we got our court date! I immediately felt like I was going to vomit! I justcouldn't believe it! We just laughed and hugged, and laughed and hugged some more...I wonder what the people around us were thinking. :) We bought Abe some celebratory pj's after that.

So...we will be traveling to Ethiopia on Sunday, July 10th. We'll have a 3-4 hour layover in Frankfurt, Germany and then arrive in Addis Ababa on the 11th. I think the first flight is 10 hours and the second close to 7. We'll get to see Abe for a couple of hours each day we are there (so we've been told), and then we'll appear before the court on the 14th. We'll leave to come home on the 16th with a short layover again in Germany - so we'll actually get home on the 17th. We've been told the time between this first trip and our trip to bring Abe home will be between 4 and 6 weeks.

We're amazed at God's timing. Of course we would be perfectly content to travel anytime, but it is really neat that we won't be missing any of the really big youth and college trips this summer. We'll still be traveling A LOT, though. Izzie may not recognize us after this summer! But she'll be one excited little puppy to have a little boy running around the house at the end of it.

We are so blessed to have such amazing parents who are helping us with our plane tickets and hotel expenses. It is amazing how expensive this part of the process is - but God is so faithful, His timing is perfect, and our parents are so loving toward us and their little grandson. God is taking care of everything. We've recently also been provided with a new vehicle which will allow us two cars to be able to transport Abe in. And that allowed us to give our truck away to another family who needed it- and they in turn gave away a vehicle to yet another family who needed a car. God is teaching us so much right now - and stretching us inso many ways. We're learning a lot about prayer, contentment, patience, trust, obedience, grace, sacrificial giving......this entire process has shown us new things about the Lord, new things about ourselves, and new ways to be part of what He intends for His people to do and be about.

We are "over the moon" with excitement about meeting our son. I am so OVERWHELMED. I spent a few hours today on a roller coaster of emotions - times of tears, excitement, anxiety, and prayer. Please keep us and Abe in your prayers. There are so many things topray for, and we really really covet your prayers for us and for him. Please pray with us:

- Pray for Abe's health and safety as he is still in the orphanage for the time being
- Pray for those who are taking care of him (we've been told there as many as 28 people involved in his care)
- Pray that we would be good stewards of the things the Lord is providing us with (finances, resources, time, etc.)
- Pray for my anxiety as we prepare for this trip and as we take the long flights to Ethiopia
- Pray for the time we get to spend with Abe while in Ethiopia (for quick bonding with him,good quality time, a good connection between the 3 of us, and that he would recognize us when we return)
- Pray for us as we prepare to be parents, and as we seek to raise Abe in a Godly home
- Pray for his adjustment to the transition home when he is moved (we are not sure when that will be)
- Pray for his adjustment to our home later on and our adjustment to having a little boy
- Pray for our court date and all of the legal issues between now and the time he is officiallyours and comes home
- Pray for the other orphans in Ethiopia - their health, safety, and that God would unite them with families
- Pray about adoption - what is your part in caring for the orphans? I closed myself off to the idea of adopting for some time, and the Lord moved in my heart and now is bringing a sweet baby boy out of loneliness and into a loving family. I encourage you to open up your heart and seek God's heart. We never know what He has for us.
- Pray for our finances as we still have quite a few things to pay out and more to save and raise before the process is finished

Thank you for your love, kindness, provision, prayers, and support. Thank you foralready loving our son. We cannot wait to bring him home!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

HUGE Update and Praise!

We got word last week that our dossier had been translated in Ethiopia, and they were just verifying things about Adane on their end. Then this morning we got word that our case has been filed with the Federal Court! This means it's passed the US Embassy's preliminary review and MOWA (Ethiopian adoption authority that has caused all of the recent changes and slowdowns). This is HUGE news!

Now, all we're waiting for is our court date, and then we'll make plans to travel for our 1st trip! Oh my goodness!!! We don't know how long it will take to get a court date with the recent changes, but this is very encouraging anyway. We're going to get immunized next week and then fingerprinted. We should also hopefully see Adane transferred to the Transition Home so we can see him when we travel for our court date.

We'll of course keep you posted, but I was just bursting at the seams to share this news! Praise the Lord, and keep praying! Of course, my anxiety is already climbing - so much to consider and plan and think about. Yikes - that plane flight! But....I'll get one step closer to my little boy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Please pray!

Abby & Ben

Monday, May 9, 2011

Ask and you shall receive (AKA "be careful what you ask for")

Ben and I are on vacation in Savannah this weekend, which is super exciting for us for a few reasons. A) We haven't been on a trip by ourselves in at least 3 years B) This was my birthday (surprise) gift from Ben which is super sweet as this has been a "dream" of mine C) It allowed us to stop off at David Platt's church on the way up, which has also been a "dream" of ours.
We attended the early service at The Church at Brook Hills on Sunday Lovedworshipping with the body of Christ, gaining a fresh perspective on how "church" is being done in other places, and we were challenged by the Word. We left energized and refreshed at the same time. The message had to do with taking the gospel to the "next generation" which isappropriate since we are in youth ministry. Awesome stuff. After being challenged, we were then headed on our way for a vacation. We know that we need this time together and the time away from our day to day routines at home. At the same time, we also desire to be useful for the kingdom...even on vacation.I prayed that morning that the Lord would provide us with an opportunity to serve and/or share the gospel. "Be careful what you ask for!" God LOVES to answer these prayers with a resounding, "OK!"Sunday night we got checked in to our hotel andwanted to do some exploring. We walked down to River Street and had a blast sightseeing, taking pictures, and taking in the sea air. We were looking for a place to eat the whole time that didn't cost an arm and a leg, and weren't having much luck. Then, we happened upon what we thought was "just another homeless guy," of whom sadly would be one of very many on this trip. He came up to us and said he was very hungry and just wondered if we could help him get something to eat. He proceeded to tell us that he was a Vietnam Vet, and said he didn't want any money...just some food in his stomach, we had no cash on us, and we both immediately felt compelled to help this man. We just trusted that the Lord would take care of us, and He wanted us to take care of this man. His name is Joseph Cohen, but everyone around town calls him "Joe." And believe me, everyone knows Joe. ;)

We quickly came to find out that Joe was not just a homeless guy panhandling in the streets of Savannah. Joe was a divine appointment from the Lord...the answer to my prayer from earlier that morning. Joe has a wife and her 6 kids. Up until last August they all lived together in a house on the south side of the historic district. That was, until their house was destroyed by fire. They lost everything.In order to provide for his family, they had to separate. His wife and kids are safe in the south part of town, while he sleeps on a friend's couch at night and walks all day (his friend is a user and will take everything Joe has or gets). Joe is a believer in Jesus Christ, and a man of great faith. He has had his share of difficult days over the past seven
months, but He says the Lord has never given him more than he can handle. He thanks the Lord for allowing his house to burn, but keeping his family safe. He told us that he would not have become dependent on the Lord had it not been for losing everything in that fire. He walks the streets of Savannah every day spreading the gospel of Christ everywhere he goes. We took him to dinner Sunday night and had coffee with him tonight (we were walking back to our hotel and "just happened to run into him" again!), and he keeps amazing us with his faith andperspective. He keeps telling us that he is so blessed to have met us, but it's us I believe who are receiving a greater blessing. I'm challenged by this man's response to suffering. He went from just being an average Joe (pun intended), to being separated from his family, forced to humble himself and rely on others for his daily needs and the needs of his family (which he
rightly sees as relying on the Lord...yet recognizing his having to have humility in asking for help), and being scoffed at and rejected by people who seven months ago could have been his next door neighbors. We took him to The Outback on Sunday night, and he just couldn't believe he was eating inside a restaurant like that. If he had tried to go in by himself, they would have turned him away. He's ok with that...he is gracious, polite, and kind anyway.Many have been helping him. He says all that have helped him belong to the Body of Christ. Praise the Lord for these obedient Christians! And we praise the Lord for His Spirit impressing upon us the need to help Joe and enabling us to obey. As we sat in Starbucks tonight (he's made friends with the night shift), I just couldn't help smiling as he praised the Lord for his current situation and thanked God for the ministry he has by being displaced. He told us story after story of people he's been able to minister to because of where the Lord has Him. And He gives God all the
glory for the hope that he has in getting his life back together soon through his caseworker at the VA. What an incredible child of God.

If you think about it, pray for Joseph (Joe) Cohen...actually, don't think about it, just do it. And pray for all of us as members of Christ's body, that we would obey, serve, and share the gospel of Jesus Christ without question and without fail. Pray that we also, like Joe, would live out that gospel wherever we find ourselves by being sensitive to the Holy Spirit living within us. Whether that's at home, in our churches, in the workplace, in line at the grocery store, or even on vacation. And one last thing to pray for...pray that we would have a right response to
suffering - I need this prayer especially. I'm really challenged by Joe's faith and response.

God certainly answered my prayer this week. Pray that I won't shy away from praying that again! I can't wait to hear what Joe has to say tomorrow night! I'm sure we'll "just happen to run into him" again. :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Auction Follow Up

thank you, thank you, thank you
to all who participated in our auction!

as a follow up, i sent an email to each winning bidder.
you should have received it last monday, and then a couple of reminders since that time.
if you did not receive the emails, please let me know.
payment information was given, and for some of you, i need your addresses so i can get your items to you.

please either comment on this post or email me at
to let me know if you have not received my emails - you might also add my address to your address book.

we would like to wrap everything up this week. thank you again!!!

we will most likely host one or two more fundraisers before we bring abe home.
no word yet on him, but we're just praying and waiting! please continue to pray for him as well.

we love you all!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The LORD provides. And you are an instrument of His provision.

thank you.
Those seem like such small words
in comparison to our gratitude
to all of you who helped us with this auction:

{those who donated}
{those who created items}
{those who spread the word}
{those who do not even know us!!}
{those who bid on items}
{those who kept bidding to help us raise more funds}
{those who prayed}

I'm sitting here in front of the computer

THANK YOU for joining us on this journey...
because of your love and support {and crazy bidding!} the auction raised...


another adoptive family shared this from a friend, "God funds what He favors"

we believe it.
this adoption is living proof.

***We'll be contacting the highest bidders via email in the upcoming days! Thanks again.






Saturday, April 16, 2011



First and foremost, a huge THANK YOU to all who have donated items and time for this auction. We couldn't do this without you! Thank you for your love and support {
and advertising!} We're humbled and forever grateful for the impact you have already had on bri
nging our little boy home from Ethiopia.

We're ECSTATIC about all the incredible donations.
So, go grab a cup of coffee {or if you're like me, a cupcake!} and stay awhile...

Here is how the auction works:

1. Peruse the AWESOME items that are for sale during the auction
{Now through Saturday, April 23rd 10pm CST}

2. Find the items you would like to bid on and place your bid in the

comments section*
{include your bid, name, and e-mail address}

***To leave a comment, click on "__ comments."
Type your comment, select your profile (if you don't have a google account, select anonymous).
Click "Post Comment" (you may have to do this twice).
Type in the code, and click "Post Comment" again. :)

3. If you win, I will send you an E-mail requesting payment for the item and/or information about your requests (if the item is custom-made). Upon receiving payment via check or paypal, the item will be shipped/delivered to you!

That's it...super easy! And, every last penny that you spend will go directly into our adoption fund.

So, without furthur ado...the auction items! (Click on each item for it's bid page.)
Happy shopping!

NEW!!! PayPal Donations
Click on the "DONATE" link to the left

"For the Guys"
*** Set of Callaway Golf Clubs BID MINIMUM DECREASED!!!

Home Decor & Gifts
UPDATED!!! Custom Yarn Wreath by Fanciful Felt You choose the design!



Questions? Technical difficulties? Contact me at

*Leaving a comment:
To leave a comment, click on "__ comments."
Type your comment, select your profile (if you don't have a google account, select anonymous).
Click "Post Comment" (you may have to do this twice).
Type in the code, and click "Post Comment" again. :)