2.26.2009

What's Next...

We have tentative travel dates to pick-up Micah for 3/13-3/21, but...

Since we moved to a different state during our adoption, we continue to jump though hoops. Let me explain:

-because we changed states and jobs, we had to update our home study reflecting these changes (verifying that we still meet the requirements for our adoption -- meet requirements to be parents???...oh, I better not go there; too much to do right now)
-our home study update must be submitted to USCIS, so they are aware of our changes
-once USCIS receives our updated home study, they will notify the visa office, who will then notify the consulate in Ethiopia...once all these offices are in 'the loop', we're good to go
-BUT...our home study is currently at AL's DHR...and, we're not sure how long they'll keep it...ugh

Confused?? Not me!!! BTDT too many times!! And, I am more than willing to assist each of these agencies with their part of the process (uh oh, this could get, well, let's just say 'sticky'...Lord, give me grace).

Anyway, thus far we've not had to purchase our airline tickets. We've been able to keep them on hold through our travel agent, but now that we're so close to travel, we may have to go ahead and purchase them anyway. We do receive a reduced reschedule fee because we're adopting, but, nonetheless hopefully we will not have to reschedule too many times.

Pray with us for favor with g'ment officials to expedite our case so MICAH CAN COME HOME!

2.23.2009

Thank You!

And thank you again, and again, and again...

For all your prayers, encouragements, and celebration as we draw nearer to bringing Micah home!

Micah is a Hebrew name, meaning "Who is like Yhwh?", or,
"Who is like God?"

Micah was a prophet in the Old Testament who loved God and spoke out against social injustice. Though Micah was grieved over the indifference of God's people, he ultimately found comfort in God's covenant, which promises to lead His people to future glory...not because of who we are or what we have done, but because of who God is and what He does!

He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the LORD require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God
?
Micah 6:8


Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity
and passing over transgression
for the remnant of his inheritance?
He does not retain his anger forever,
because he delights in steadfast love.
Micah 7:18-19


To our Micah: may you always have a genuine concern for the oppressed, and, always delight in your Heavenly Father's love and purpose for your life!

2.20.2009

DEAR FRIENDS & FAMILY!!!
We have passed court!!!

OUR GOD REIGNS!!!
He has heard all our petitions & answered us!!!!
He has executed His justice for Micah & has covered us with His grace!!!
To Him be the glory forever, and ever!!!!

2.19.2009

Ahhhhhhh...torture!!!!

The Blackwell's returned safely home with their precious Rae this week!!! Let me just tell you-- she is a doll!! And, oh, what a surprise did they have for us!!!

PICTURES!!!
Lots-n-lots of pictures of our boy!!!

We haven't seen an recent picture of him in almost a month....ohhhh, he is getting so big...and he's soooo handsome!!! And, quite serious looking...my sweet little contemplative boy! Oh, what fun we will have as we discover & reason together God's creation and purpose for life!!!!

Oh, to see my dear friend playing with our son...sugar for my mommy heart!
Thank you, Kelly!!!

2.18.2009

So, how are we doing...no, REALLY doing???

Honestly, we're doing good.
Yes, we're extemely frustrated & extemely disappointed, but, we're not a wreck.

It's kind of like this:
You know how in Psalm 23 the psalmist talks about walking "through the valley of the shadow of death"? Well, our journey is more like walking through the valley of the shadow of despair. We are not in despair, but it is a shadow looming over us. No, I don't think despair will have it's way with us, but it is a reality that would like to have it's way with us. God is allowing us to see it from afar, all the while, His mighty arm keeping it at bay.

This is not a pity-party, but below are a few realities of the final stages of an adoption. Yes, this is what we signed-up for. Here's quote I read on someone's blog: Adoption is not about families getting children, but about children getting families. Very true, but very messy.

- half-packed suitcases, here and there...baby clothes that will soon be too small

- formula in the kitchen with an expiration of 5/09...secret thought: oh, surely I will not have to throw this away!

- commitments that we hesitate to make, because we do not know what the next several weeks will look like...continual limbo

- empty picture frames in Vince's office...he can't show-off his boy until the adoption is finalized

- lots & lots of questions from dear friends & family, but few answers for them

- our son approaching 7 months...what precious moments are we missing...first words? crawling?

-a lot of wrestling with 'why?'

Again, we are not in despair. We are not defeated. We are not hopeless. But, we are human -- and we thankful that God is mindful of this...For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust (Ps 103:14).

We know that, though this part seems never-ending, never-ending is not true. This is but a page in the book of our lives...and it will turn soon enough.


The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff,they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Hey...and, thanks for asking! :)

2.17.2009

Court Update, #3

Our case was not completed today.

I wish I could share the details with you, but everything must remain confidential until after the adoption is finalized. Even then, I will limit what I share...this is our son's story, and we will leave it for him to share when he is ready.

We will have another update by the end of this week.

So, how can you pray?
Pray for our son, that God would defend his cause!
Ps 82:3 Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.


And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?
Luke 18:7

2.16.2009

KEEP PRAYING!!!!

OK, so here's our court update:

Our agency was able to provide what that judged requested from our 2/2 court appearance (praise God)!!!

But, today, the judge requested one more thing regarding a document we already have...and, our agency has by the end of business tomorrow to provide it. It's do-able, but, NOT without your continued prayer!!!!

Please, pray that:
-this document would make it to court on time
-the content of the document would satisfy the judge
-God would to continue to melt the judge's heart with favor & satisfaction toward our case
-God's favor toward AWAA's ET staff to remain unmoved as they complete our case (and, the many cases that will be following ours)

2.12.2009

from Psalm 49,
Why Should I Fear in Times of Trouble?

verse 3..."My mouth shall speak wisdom"-- even when the outcome of my circumstances is undetermined, and even when the desires of my heart are delayed, I will seek to make sense of it all only by God's wisdom

..."the meditation of my heart shall be understanding"-- I will only be satisfied to view my life through God's eyes...I will rest in God's promises

verse 4..."I will incline my ear to a proverb"-- I will only seek God's counsel and God's comfort, instead of being driven to despair by man's opinion and hopelessness

..."I will solve my riddle to the music of the lyre."-- I will chose 'thankfulness' at all times; I will sing and dance as my Heavenly Father sanctifies my faith, because His love is perfect

verse 5..."Why should I fear in times of trouble?" I shouldn't. I am loved by the Father, redeemed by His Son, and protected by His Holy Spirit


2.11.2009

So, how about a re-cap??

07/05- run into a dozen families in the Hong Kong airport, returning to the states with their Chinese baby girls…the seed is planted

06/06- begin to research adoption agencies

08/06- attend an America World Adoption Association seminar in Springfield, MO

11/06- apply/accepted into AWAA’s China adoption program

01/07- begin our home study for our China adoption

04/07- hand-deliver our completed home study to USCIS for immigration approval; get finger-printed (KC, MO)

06/07- receive approval letter from USCIS to adopt from China

07/07- send dossier to China; receive ‘log in date’ (LID)

10/07- China approves waiting families to pursue concurrent adoptions because of increasing wait

11/07- apply/accepted with AWAA to adopt concurrently

12/07- apply/accepted with AWAA to adopt from Ethiopia

01/08- update home study for our Ethiopia application

02/08- request & receive update with USCIS to adopt from Ethiopia

03/08- send dossier to Ethiopia

04/08- update home study for China adoption (update annually)

06/08- get re-fingerprinted for USCIS (update every 15 mos)

11/08- receive & accept our referral for Baby Martin (Ethiopia)

12/08- update Ethiopia home study & apply to extend immigration approval with USCIS (update every 18 mos)

12/08- job change/relocate to Birmingham, AL

01/09- apply to a new social service agency & update Ethiopia home study (3rd time) for relocation

02/09- 1st & 2nd court appearances in Ethiopia


I didn’t include all the MANY minor details, and I’m sure I omitted some major ones as well…but, I think you get the picture.

2.09.2009

God extends favor...

But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the LORD. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.”
Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.” And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.”
Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.
1 Sam 1:15-18

As we wait for our second court date on 2/16, we continue to pray that we find favor in God's eyes -- and that because of His favor and His sovereignty, He would enable our agency to meet the requests of the judge, and that He would melt the judge's heart with satisfaction toward our case.

2.05.2009

God WILL

Although, we continue 'the wait' for our son -- this week has been a good week. God has placed within my heart a resolve to joyfully anticipate His great blessings!! As I have reflected on the details of court, while contemplating my deepest and most private prayers (of my life) prior to court, I clearly see how God answered me on a very intimate level.
It was very scary for me to acknowledge this deepest need (really having nothing to do with our adoption) as I anticipated court, because until now I have been able to stifle it. I had avoided coming face-to-face with God on this issue for one simple reason: rejection.

But, friend, let me proclaim: I WAS NOT rejected.

God streched our His arm, not to fend me off, but to draw me ever so close. Oh, maybe one day I will be able to share this week's spiritual journey in a not-so-mysterious way, but for now I will continue to "treasure up all these things, pondering them in my heart'.

The most important truth I have learned is that God will. I do not know when, but I now know that He will.

For those who'd like greater insight regarding our experience in court this week (and what is to come), AWAA recently posted a great article on their blog: Integrity in Ethiopia. It explains more in-depth the complexity of International Adoption.

AND, last night at church we met a precious Ethiopian couple!!! (Actually, they are from Eritrea, but considered themselves Ethiopians -- these two nations have complex history with one another). We only spoke with them briefly because they had to pick-up their children, but we can't wait to get to know them better!!!
The wife came to the States as an infant, but did return to Eritrea with her family for a short period during her childhood. Her husband was actually adopted by a US Caucasian family!! He said it was a wonderful experience, and has since been reunited with his bio family, as well. We shared with them about our adoption, and how much we love & respect Ethiopian culture/people!!! And they just beamed -- you can tell they are very proud of their heritage! They also told us they want to be first in line to babysit Little Martin! I know this family will be a precious gift to us in the seasons to come!! I can't wait to spend more time with them & soak-in all their stories & experiences...and, maybe, even learn the art of making injera!!!

2.03.2009

Time To Be a Big Girl

OK, so after our court news yesterday, I was completely unproductive!! Deserved, right? Well, today it's time to be a big girl and get back to life...ah, but easier said than done. I don't quite have the wind back in my sails.

On another note, we are able to send a Valentine happy to our son with the Blackwells. Kelly & Kevin leave this week-end to pick-up their daughter Rahel (yeah!!). We sent him a card that plays a James Taylor tune, and a toy-cell phone that allowed us to record a message with our voices.



-JUST FOR FUN-
Awwwwwww...when is the baby coming home?????
Don't you know that 1 year for you = 7 years for me!!!

2.02.2009

Your prayers have not been in vain!!!!

Take heart, dear friends & family!!!!

We did not 'completely' pass court today. HOWEVER, God has honored your prayers!!! Some miraculous things did happen for us in court , but there is some additional paperwork that the judge has requested. Our next appearance will be Monday, Feb. 16th. This is a miracle in itself because the courts are backed-up till early April!!

Although our heart's desire is to bring our son home as soon as possible, we trust God's timing!!! Please continue to pray with us -- I know many of you have been praying fervently, and are probably a little weary (I know we are) -- but let us continue to fight the good fight!!!

Congratulations to the Blacks, Chans & Renos!!!!!! (families that did pass court)

from Romans chapter 8:
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died––more than that, who was raised––who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

An Orphan's Ticket Home

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