A sparrow when I'm broken, and eagle when I fly.....

Welcome to my world. I am an ordinary wife and mom who has been extraordinarily blessed by an amazing husband and house full of beautiful children. My prayer is that you will be somehow blessed by our family's story. It is a tale of God's grace and forgiveness...His loving kindness and patience with us His children as we strive & struggle everyday to bless His name with our lives

Friday, June 26, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Jarib and I got home to WA state last night. My friends outside of Mobile came and got us in Birmingham for a visit with them. It was so wonderful to spend time with them..More of our visit with them later. Then Wednesday I got the call from lawyer that we had interstate compact approval . Yah!!! Got a plane ticket home for Thursday. I got a big smacking kiss from Heaven when I was mistakenly put in first class all the way from Houston to Seattle. Boy was that nice! Mike picked me up at the airport and I just sobbed to hold my man again. The kids all just adore the baby of course. Jarib very quickly has learned that he likes to be help 24/7 and luckily there are lots of arms waiting their turns to hold him. I am exhausted but oh so happy to be home. I got to see Mulu before she had to leave and Cody comes tomorrow and Roza next week. I think Jake and Holly are coming for visit next weekend. Everyone wants to meet their new baby brother. I am loving have a baby again but will need to start implementing nap time. That means ME having nap time when littles are having their afternoon rest. I need it after being up with Jarib at night. I feel a bit like a zoombie today. Thank you all for your prayers for this sweet boy. Jarib has appointments in Spokane July 6th-7th for VP shunt and also his club feet.

Now keep up the prayers for Assefa and Gezehegn to pass court and get home too.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Alone At Last

Jarib and I moved to Ronald McDonald House yesterday afternoon. Monday he sees his neurosurgeon to check his head size. Except for that appointment we are free just to hang out here at RMH and enjoy each other. Jarib LOVES being worn in a baby sling, He LOVES getting to eat whenever he is hungry and not on a hospital schedule. I miss the rest of the family but am sure enjoying my time with him....just mommy and Jarib. I'm so homesick but am committed to cherishing every moment of this time together.

Today Mike and I had to sign a "At-Risk Placement Regarding Indian Heritage" and fax it back to lawyer. Every once in awhile the fear of losing Jarib to the tribe will cross my mind and my heart races and my blood runs cold. The I remind myself quickly that God orchestrated all the events leading us adopt Jarib. No matter what happens in the future we are just where we are suppose to be right now. No matter what happens He will be with us and our baby. We have to wait here for interstate compact approval between Alabama and Washington. As soon as I get that "okay" we'll be getting a flight home!

Yesterday while still at the hospital we had a nice visit with Jarib's birth parents. I was able to get some photos of him with each of them alone and all together. The plan is for an open adoption with sharing of photos, letters, phone calls etc...Mike and I know this is a huge blessing for Jarib. So many of our children have no contact nor any information about their birth parents. Some feel deeply the loss and "blankness" of biological knowledge. Some of our kids suffer a lot of pain because of continued knowledge and contact with bio family. It's a mixed up bag of good and bad emotions. So far the good in birth parent contact outweighs the bad.

Baby has full tummy and sleeping. I think I should go scoop him up just to snuggle in his peacefulness and baby sleeping sweetness. Those newborn baby funny faces are priceless but don't last forever....I don't want to miss a single one.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Baby Bliss 24 Hours A Day...

I now have our darling Jarib 24 hours a day! It started out yesterday with a CAT scan at 4:00 AM. His head size hadn't grown and neurosurgeon on duty said he was;t ready for a VP shunt yet ad to follow up in weeks. I guess his ventricles are not even enlarged enough to put a shunt in. Wouldn't it be awesome if he never needed one!?!

So my question was "why does this baby need to be in hospital?". I have to spend a day or two in a "rooming in" room and then can be discharged to RMH. (Ronald McDonald House) So I now have our little guy all to myself in a regular room. Jarib has no monitors or wires attached to him. The staff just check his vitals a few times a day. We are left alone together to bask in mommy/baby bliss. It is lovely. I have to watch a car seat video and do the CPR training this morning. Monday he sees his neurosurgeon in clinic to check his head size etc...

So the only obstacles now to homecoming are just the court stuff (birth parents need to go to court this afternoon to sign their final papers) and interstate compact stuff. Please pray that court goes smoothly today and that the approval from interstate compact offices come back quickly. Mike at home sounds tired. Kids at home are okay but want mommy home.

thanks friends!

Monday, June 15, 2009


Mostly I pray by just talking to God as I go about my day. In my "normal" life most days I never have a quiet moment to sit down for official "Quiet Time" with the Lord. I used to get up at 4:30-5:00 AM for my quiet time...but now when I get up early there are little ones up too. Tamar MyHao wakes at the slightest noise and is often found up long before sunrise. It's just very difficult to find a quiet time at home. I live for my long walks along the river. The big girls watch the kids for me and I try to take a walk a hour or more at least once a day. It becomes a nice private talk with the Lord enjoying His handiwork in the beauty along the river paths. When I have a child in the hospital I have the loveliest quiet times. There are endless quiet hours to sit by the bedside of a sleeping child. Now,like many times before in the past I find myself beside the bed of a much loved child. Worries and concern float around my consciousness constantly. I am mostly alone with no family and friends here. What a grand opportunity for the Lord to fill me up! How wonderful it is to find myself in a place where all I have is God to count on. Of course that is always true. Every day. Every moment. Every breath we take comes from Him. But it is just too easy to be so busy in regular daily life and not focus on Him. Finding myself scared, lonely and needy makes me hungrier for Him. Great need is a great thing. Talking to Him. Praising Him. Listening to Him. It's all praying. On my knees beseeching Him for my desires (court in Ethiopia, Jarib's healing, family at home, etc...) At the elevator asking Him for food to be in cafeteria without gluten that I can eat. In the NICU waiting room asking Him for perfect words to share with others what He has done for us. Asking Him while getting caught in downpour on the walk from hospital to RMH to keep me from getting so wet that I am "indecent" looking for mixed company. It's all prayer. Here is a great quote below.

The only way to pray
is to pray;

and the only way to pray well
is to pray much.

If one has no time for this,
then one must at least pray regularly.

But the less one prays,
the worse it goes."

~ John Chapman

Sunday, June 14, 2009


One of the world's most adorable babies..

Jarib Ezekiel Feser

Jarib is a Hebrew word that means "he will fight". As a verb: “he will fight”, like in the verse “Rob not the poor, because he is poor, neither oppress the afflicted in the gate, for the Lord will plead their cause (יָרִיב רִיבָם) and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.” Proverbs 22, 22-23. Ezekiel means "God will strengthen or God's champion". We prayed about the perfect name for our new baby and feel that Jarib Ezekiel is a powerful name that well suits this precious baby. We pray he will someday be a mighty champion for God and he will in the Lord's name fight and plead the cause of those afflicted and oppressed.

Friday, June 12, 2009

no shunt today

Surgery postponed again for baby. The ped neurosurgeon on duty today felt that it wasn't quite time yet (or bad enough) to do the VP shunt on baby. It will be reevaluated throughout the weekend and Monday. I have been praying that it would self resolve and he wouldn't need a shunt. Keep praying for that. It would awesome for him if he didn't need one. There is talk of him going to private room or even being discharged to Ronald McDonald House with me. No hurry though, they will talk about that Monday too. He is eating better today and is awake a lot more. He is so much fun to spend time with!


Great Christain Fiction

So in my "off" hours out of the NICU I have been reading. I started a great book on the plane and finished it and also part 2 of the series. The author is named Allison Pittman. Book one is called "Ten Thousand Charms" and book two is "Speak Through The Wind". (too bad I have never figured out how to post cute links to outside info on my blog....must learn that soon!) I ordered the third book in series last night from Amazon to be shipped to me here at Ronald McDonald House. I know I am not the only Francine Rivers fan. Her "Redeeming Love" is a classic and the fiction book that most changed my life. Yasab fell in love with Jesus reading "Redeeming Love". These books by Allison Pittman remind me of "Redeeming Love". Just had to share!

Off to NICU. Visiting hours start at 9:00AM and I like to be there waiting and watching the clock to get right in there to gaze at that beautiful face! As it stands now his shunt surgery is #4 on the schedule and will happen around 12:30-1:00 PM.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

update on ET court and VP shunt

No news from Ethiopia today. Assefa had court. A few cases passed but mostly the news was that MOWA letters were not ready. Agency has emailed to find out specifically about Assefa. I am assuming that the needed info on non existent birth father of Gezehegn is still missing so both still in limbo land. ugh

Our sweet baby boy here in Alabama NICU needs a VP shunt. He was going to have surgery yesterday and was NPO (no food) till 2:00PM when we were told he had been bumped to Friday for surgery. He has become a sluggish bottle feeder (swallowing is one skill you lose with inter cranial pressure) and is very sleepy. I hear that the surgery schedule is packed for tomorrow and he may be bumped to first thing Saturday. ugh. Poor baby. I shared with staff in NICU today that I am used to older child with VP shunt where you just don't mess around with even suspicion that the child needs surgery. Newborns skulls have so much "give" that it really isn't an emergency. Relaxing about postponing shunt placement though goes against ever fiber of my being and it totally out of my comfort zone. I always like to say how good it is for all of us to step out of our comfort zones....It may be good for me but I still can't wait until he has a working shunt and a flat fontanel. Wanna see a pretty head still without a shaved spot and shunt showing under skin? Here he is...

Ooops...I can not seem to add photos. I think the dial up connection is too slow at Ronald McDonald to do photos. I will try later. There is wireless in downstairs family room that I can try tonight.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

1 Year and God's Math

One year ago Mike and I officially started a new adoption. We had known we would adopt again but weren't sure when we would be ready. We were still raw from Jonathan's death in April. The only thing we could do was to keep to the path God had laid before us. Though we felt beaten and defeated in grief's rough hands, we HAD to remain the people God had created us to be. It was a big step in our healing process. Sometimes it feels like "you" have died when you bury someone. Being who God made you to be reminds you that you are still alive.

We'd had for a long time the picture of a little girl named Edelawit in Ethiopia on our frig. She was sitting on the lap of a nun next to a friend's child-to-be. We loved this little girl. Beware: putting orphan's kids pics on your frig reminds you to pray for them and you also fall in love with them! We started the paperwork for her and also asked to be matched with a baby boy. Our family had been through so much with Jonathan's illness the last few years. For this reason we chose to do easiest adoption (younger than our youngest at home) and easiest special need (HIV). We found out about Assefa our baby boy at AHOPE shortly before our dossier went to Ethiopia in August. We "thought" our kids would be home in November. Sadly we lost the referral for our sweet girl while visiting Addis in Oct. We added our adorable Down Syndrome toddler Gezehegn to Assefa's adoption.

We never imagined that we would have found ourselves here a year later still waiting for our new kids. That is so often the way isn't it? We begin to a course knowing what God wants us to do and "thinking" we know how it will turn out. Stuff happened "worse" than I ever imagined. Stuff like losing our little girl's referral and endless ridiculous delays for the boys. And stuff happened "better" than I ever imagined. Big stuff like being here in AL a year later loving on this precious baby boy. Big stuff like three trips to Ethiopia in the last year where God worked in HUGE ways in a lot of lives. God's math at work. When things seem like disaster to us; God is powerfully working in ways not possible if stuff had turned out that way we wanted it too.

What equals "good" and "bad" in God's math is totally different that the math of good and bad of this world. This world calls "bad" the sick, weak, and needy. In God's math our weakness and poverty of spirit are "good" (for us). Our pain, frustrations and great neediness is what causes us to call out to God. When we approach him with our brokenness and emptiness is when He swoops down and feeds us His riches. He fills us up with Himself and heals us. Then He shows us how to share His love with others. We share because God Stuff is too exciting and fantastic not to share.

Father in Heaven, thank you that Your ways are perfect and Your riches exceed our wildest dreams. Thank you when You reveal more of Your love to us in our pain and need. Help us when things seem bad here in our temporary home...to seek You and Your comfort. Use Lord even our hardest times in this world to refine us and mold us into the children to You that You created us to be. Amen

Things are going good here in Baby Land. Our baby is thriving. He was allowed to get off his tummy yesterday afternoon (5 days post spinal repair) and this made eating MUCH easier for him. Imagine trying to learn to take a bottle flat on your stomach with your head lower than your bottom?! I have been able to hold him and feed him and he is loving it. So am I! Everyone in NICU is still looking towards a VP shunt but since it isn't "emergency" at this point they are giving him a few more days. There is a chance the fluid on brain issue may resolve itself though that seems unlikely. A part of me sort of wished if they had to do it they do it sooner so he could be discharged sooner.....BUT if he doesn't need a shunt yet that would be better. It is worth waiting just to be sure. Once you have a VP shunt you have it for life. It's a big deal and one to avoid if at all possible.

Some of the drama with birth parent issues is dieing down. God is blessing my socks off with HIS presence. I am constantly finding myself in tears. I can handle most all things without crying. But feeling God working, talking about Him to others, seeing the miracles He works, and basking in His extravagant grace and love towards me....well, all that stuff makes me cry. There's something about His spirit moving that makes my eyes leak out all the time.

I can tell you that He is in this situation 1000%. He loves us and loves this baby. He has a very special plan for this child. He told me. I have such peace. I know that no matter what ever happens in the coming months that we are right where our Father wants us, and that He is working His good purposes in this time.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

from Baby Land

Our new baby is doing really well. I will post his name and pic next week ..but till then believe me when I say he is gorgeous! The bandage is off his back and his "repair" is healing up nicely. He seems ready to be able to get off his stomach. He only needs to stay on stomach with his head lower that his bottom for five days after surgery, so Monday..tomorrow he should be able to be in more natural positions. It's hard to bottle feed laying on your tummy. He is doing pretty well eating but he still gets fatigued and frustrated with the awkward position. They have been slowly upping the amount of formula they want him to take. Whatever he doesn't take by the bottle is fed via NG tube. So far no signs he needs a VP shunt but I am still counting on that happening. He is still cathed every 12 hours but there is little urine left in bladder. He wets his diapers a lot though. This is great! and I believe they will stop the cathing today. He does leak stool constantly and has sore bottom because of it. He does move his legs a tiny bit. Less than he did before surgery. He seems to feel some when I touch his legs so I am happy about that!

Within the next few days the staff will be meeting with me again to discuss when he will be discharged. After discharge I will have to stay here longer for adoption related paperwork. The paperwork issues I mentioned before was that it came out once I got here that birth Dad is Native American. This is a situation that requires new paperwork filed in court and "permission" from the tribe. Please pray. We are hoping it helps that Mike's "Little Grandma" was full blooded Native American and that we practice such strong cultural respect and education with all our children; both bio and adopted. The issues with the Tribe will not keep me from coming home with baby but could in future complicate finalizing adoption.

I am spending every second I can in NICU with baby and once back at RMH (Ronald McDonald House)I am so exhausted I can hardly think let alone get post. I realized I need to start eating better and sleeping more while here. The high level of emotions seems to equate to exhaustion. Anyone else notice that? Like you are way more tired when your emotions are climbing peaks and valleys all day long?

I have been so blessed by the time I have spent with birth mom and dad. It's sad that Mike can't be here for this. When we come back in three months to finalize adoption Mike will be able to meet birth parents. Adoption always has grief and loss attached. No matter newborn adoption with known birth parents, foster care adoption, international adoption. No matter the age, situation or type of adoption....it is always a journey filled with extremes of emotions and contrasts of those who gaining and losing.

Keep praying for baby and his healing. Keep praying for Mike as he finishes the "outage" at work. Keep praying for Kayla as she cares for the kids at home. KEEP praying for all my kids! I have a grown chick who is hurting and this hen just wants to be able to scoop 'em up under my wings. I have to give that over to the Father's sheltering wings. I miss the kids at home and have no idea when I will be home with them. I am SOOO thankful for Kayla and that I can know all is well at home.

Even though I am in Baby Land and falling deeper and deeper in love with our little guy every second.....my heart still aches for our boys in Ethiopia. I can not help but fear for them and the continued delays. Assefa has a new court date on June 11. This was moved up from his late June date so that was good news! Gezehegn STILL needs more info for MOWA and court about birth parents. Imagine how hard it is to track down a beggar women who relinquished a child years ago? ugh. Pray for Gezehegn's needed paperwork so he can come home to us.

Love, Julee

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Baby Blessings!!

I'm in Alabama with a beautiful baby boy! Found out baby was coming Tuesday morning. I got off the plan early Wednesday morning. It's been a wonderful whirlwind since then. It's about midnight Thursday night and I have Internet for the first time. Had to share our news with my blogging buddies! Too exhausted to write much but I will have much more opportunities to get online now.

Baby had his repair surgery yesterday (for spina bifida). He is doing good. They have a great NICU here. They are watching him for for signs he will need VP shunt. He is adorable! Some paperwork glitches with adoption (I expect this nowadays, I am cynical?) Baby is adorable! Oh, did I say that already?

Love, Julee
blown away with baby love fever