One Year Ago, Today...

Not only were Vince & I on a plane heading to China, our dossier (China adoption paper work) was, too!! I remember how surreal it felt, knowing that our paper work was being logged-in with the CCAA while we were actually in-country!!

We did not get to travel back to China this year -- would have been our fourth trip -- we truly miss this beautiful country & her wonderful people. Here are some of our favorite pics so you can reminisce with us!



I wish I had some significant correlation to the number five, but I don't (well, not other than the little piggie that went 'wee wee wee all the way home). Guess I'm not on my A-game today. So what is it about five? Glad you asked :)

Today, we've been waiting five months for our referral from Ethiopia. Originally, the estimated wait was 5-7 months -- but it has recently increased to 7-9 months. So what does that mean? Glad you asked, again :)
UPDATE: wait time has decreased to 5-7 mos (based on current referrals)
We could receive our referral (infant boy or girl) anytime between Aug - Nov. We would travel 2-3 months after our referral...Nov - Jan.

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my HOPE is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my FORTRESS; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty ROCK, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a REFUGE for us.
Psalm 62:5-8


"Where were you...

...when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding."
Job 38:4

God reminded me of this when things did not turn out as we had expected. Earlier this week I posted about all the families hoping to have their adoptions finalized before the Ethiopian courts closed...well, God obviously had something else in mind. Only the three families who already had established court dates passed this week-- the other families will not receive their court dates until after the New Year (October).

I know this will be an agonizing three to four months for them, but I also hold firmly to the truth that God is working all things for good! I trust there will be purpose in their wait...just as I trust deeply there is (and has been) purpose in our wait.

The children of the waiting families will live in a transitional home (run by AWAA) until the families can go get them. Our agency's transitional home is amazing!! The children receive excellent care from the nannies and the AWAA staff in Ethiopia. Families receive weekly updates about their children, as well as photos. The three families who did pass court will be able to take items/gifts from the waiting USA families to their Ethiopian children, as well.

All that said, I do not take lightly the blessing of the three successful court appointments!! I am so excited for these families:
the Cox's
the Ducommun's
the Mole's

Godspeed to your children!!!


More great news

This past Friday our agency issued five referrals!!! And, they might pass court by the end of July. Let me explain why this would be so wonderful:

Every year, the Ethiopian courts close for about two months, Aug-Sept. Orphanages/agencies continue to issue referrals during this time, but with courts closed, the adoptions cannot be finalized until Oct (at the earliest). So, if the families who've already received referrals beat the court closures, they will be able to go get their children sooner. Our family coordinator from AWAA is actually in Ethiopia right now trying to expedite families waiting to pass court...she's amazing!!!

The courts close in Ethiopia during this time in observance of their New Year -- and this year is especially exciting because they are celebrating their millennium. Yes, we celebrated our/USA millennium eight years ago -- but Ethiopia, on the other hand, observes the Julian Calendar so Ethiopian dates fall 7- 8 years behind western dates and have done so since early Christian times. The discrepancy results from differences between the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Churches to the date of the creation of the world. Interesting, huh??

There is a slight possibility that we could receive our referral during the court closures, or shortly after....so, of course, we are beginning to get very excited!!!



ZOIE SENAIT GIBSON...miracle baby!!!
Not only was Zoie sick when the Gibson's picked her up (they made a mad-dash to the hospital in Ethiopia--she's now doing great & getting stonger every day),
the family also had a paper work crisis which delayed their return to the US by almost a week.
(Zoie, you will discover soon enough that when there are big obstacles for you to hurdle, that usually means God has big things in store for you!!)

30+ hours of travel = tired mama & hungry baby

Local families who have also adopted from Ethiopia were so excited to meet Zoie!!

I even got to cuddle with sweet Zoie for a moment! What a sweet, good-natured baby!!

The other two families who traveled with the Gibson's, the Raymers & the Ords, also returned home with their precious children! We are so excited for all of you!! Congrats & may God's richest blessings be upon your families!!


Not much new around here

Lately, I've had a wonderful sense of 'peaceful-anxiety' -- can peace and anxiety even co-exist?? Maybe a better description for my anxiety would be anticipation. Every once in a while I'm able to catch just a glimpse of how deep God is working -- and I don't mean just the typical circumstantial evidence that He's working here-and-there, but the "all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose" glimpse.
For the most part, I don't consider my life as heading in a thousand different directions, but I do feel as if the components of my life that are moving forward are on separate paths...progressing, yet disconnected. But according to God's Word, that's not true...all things are being worked together by God for a common good/goal.
Being a Christ-follower isn't about oppressive rules imposed by an angry god. Following Christ means life can make sense -- it would be impossible for me to understand or see how ALL things are working together for good without knowing & believing God's Word . But God has ALWAYS proved to me that He is faithful to those who love Him -- and He is doing that yet, again.

"And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna...that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD."


Absolute Utter Disgust

Please excuse me while I vent my idealistic thoughts....if you find them offensive....GOOD!!

We have friends who are currently in Ethiopia picking-up their daughter -- last night they had to rush her to the hospital because she's having difficulty breathing (pneumonia, possibly). A family from our agency shared with us this morning another tragic story: their friends received a referral in May for a precious little boy from Ethiopia; well, this little boy died yesterday...they never even got to meet him. Several months ago, an AWAA family traveled to Ethiopia to pick-up their child, only to discover their child had a twin...but the twin died before they received their referral.

Are you your brother's keeper????...isn't that the question Cain asked of God, after murdering his brother???

As I sit here in my comfy home, using my Wi-Fi, drinking my expensive coffee - I have a sudden urge to vomit! Our Western apathy is despicable. All over the world, little boys are being ravaged by treatable diseases...little girls are trading sex for food so they can live one more day. And do you know the one thing they all have in common (other than death): it is the hope that someone is coming to help. Really???

I don't want to listen to the excuses about 'why' we can't help them...not from our politicians, nor from our gluttonous society (vomit, again). I have a sneaking suspicion God hasn't any use for our excuses either. As a matter of fact, I'm quite convinced we will face God's reckoning for our indifference. He has blessed us with all the resources necessary to help these children...but instead, we've chosen to bury our "talent", as did the "wicked and slothful servant."

Let me encourage you NOT to believe the lie that is straight from Hell: "If I can't help them all, it's no use to help any."

God has called you to be faithful with what He has given you -- just in case you forgot, everything you think you own actually belongs to God. His intention is not for us to use His blessings to enlarge our kindom, but to enlarge His!

But, even in the midst of my disgust I have hope...hope that God will forgive my apathy, and create within me a genuine concern that leads to action.

And, I have this very hope for you, too.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
James 1:22-27


More Forever Families!

The following families will, for the first time, meet their precious children in Ethiopia early next week:

The Gibsons (they live here in Branson)
The Ords
The Raymers

Congrats to each of you!!!!


May we never stop...

...asking, "Why?"...
...of others, and ourselves...

We have been waiting almost one year for our daughter from China, and over four months for our son/daughter from Ethiopia. And as cumbersome as the adoption process is, the one thing Vince & I never become weary of is God reminding us why we are doing this. Here is His most recent gentle reminder:

The following is an excerpt from Melissa Fay Greene's There is No Me Without You, describing her thoughts as she she began to wrap her mind around the orphan crisis in Ethiopia-

"Who was going t0 raise twelve million children? That's what I suddenly wanted to know...Who was teaching twelve million children how to swim? Who was signing twelve million permission slips for school field trips? Who packed twelve million lunches? ...Who will tell twelve million bedtime stories? ...Twelve million birthday parties?
Who will wake in the night to eighteen million nightmares? Who will offer grief counseling to twelve, fifteen, eighteen, thirty-six million children? Who will help them avoid lives of servitude or prostitution? Who will pass on to them the traditions of culture and religion, of history and government, of craft or profession?
Who will help them grow up, choose the right person to marry, find work and learn how to parent their own children? Well, as it turns out, no one. or very few. There aren't enough adults to go around."

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying,

“Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”

Then I said,

“Here am I! Send me.”

An Orphan's Ticket Home

An Orphan's Ticket Home
Click here to Donate Today!!!