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

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

another delay for our little boys

This is what I heard regarding Assefa's court today...

"For Assefa Feser, he was given a negative recommendation due to an error on the paperwork. In the file are a two letters, one is a police paper and then the approval letter from the Oromia office. There are about 20 children on the approval letter, and most of the other children have already passed. The approval letter makes reference to both letters in the file, by stating the letter number and letter date. In doing so they accidentally put the month as 07 instead of 03, though all the other details in the approval letter were correct. This is now going to have to be corrected. XXXXX from Shashemene is coming on Friday to take it and get it corrected. The new court date is June 22nd........."

I haven't heard any news about Gezehegn. I imagine that even if Gezehegn's paperwork was in order the court would not hear his case as Assefa's failed. This is so discouraging.


Monday, May 25, 2009

New Baby & Silver Linings

I think; it seems like; and I keep trying to have faith...that we are having a new baby!! No better news than that is possible. Several weeks ago I saw an email from another adoptive mom about the search for a family for a baby boy due end of June with Spina Bifida. I responded kind of flippantly " who could turn down a newborn?!! "we were all over that!!!" Never did I expect any return emails or really sincere feedback about the possibility of Mike and I being chosen to parent this baby!? But guess what happened?! they chose us!? We prayed that if we were the best thing for this baby that all doors would fly open or if this was not best thing for the baby or our family that doors would slam shut. So the doors flew wide open. Before we knew it we realized it really looked like we are getting a teeny tiny newborn! What a very cool and amazing thing to happen! We are SO VERY MUCH excited about this baby boy. He is due June 20 but we think he will be born via c-section sooner than that. Right now I am ready to hop a plane as soon as we know he is will be born. Silver lining in dark clouds: NEVER would we have considered or responded to email about adopting a baby had we just brought home two little boys from Ethiopia. Or if I was preparing to travel any second to ET to fetch Gezehegn or Assefa home. Really we never would have considered this baby had our boys in ET come home when expected. Never did we dream God would bring us another tiny baby. We are SOOO excited. He (the baby) is real to us and we already love him so much. We have prayed for the perfect name for this little boy. We know that like all our children and all the rest of us; that God has a perfect plan for this child. How exciting!

We need prayers for this baby. We need prayers for his birth parents and all they are going through. We need prayers for God's perfect timing for baby's birth and my travel and Mike' work schedule when I am out of town. I will travel to be with our new baby when he is born and when he has surgery for spina bifida. Hopefully he will have a speedy recovery and the interstate compact office (between WA and AL) will okay travel quickly so he can come home as soon as possible!

Silver linings. Think I will name them "platinum linings". I would never have chosen to delay Assefa or Gezehegn's homecoming for anything. But if they were not delayed we would never have considered this new baby. This is why I can trust His timing. This is why I trust Him.

in waiting with happy expectations

Proof Of Miracles

I love this photo of Anna, Josiah and Maggie. I offer it to you as a gift from our past. This photo is taken in Johannesburg, South Africa in our hotel room in June 2002.

Anna is just 2 years old and had only been home from China 6 months. The wait for her was super painful for me. She was our first adoption and I thought I would go insane waiting for her. We were delayed a bit with 9/11 but finally united with her at Christmas time 2001. We had known from the start of our adoption we wanted to adopt another little girl someday. We thought Anna should have a sibling closer to her age as there was just Michael age 11 at home then. We had sent a dossier to Cambodia the previous fall but adoptions from Cambodia closed down the week we were in China. Our agency at the time also had an adoption program in SA (South Africa). We switched programs and sent our dossier there. SA allowed the adoption of two unrelated children. I too this day can not believe Mike said "okay" when I asked if we could ask for TWO babies. We started the wait for two infants under 12 months of age, healthy or mild special needs. Our dossier had only been in SA a week when our facilitator called and asked us about two babies. There was a 9 mos old girl with a VP shunt for hydrocephalus and a 11 mos old boy with cerebral palsy. We were emailed their medical records and looked them over. It was just too much for us and we said "no" without ever seeing their photo. It felt like their medical issues were too extreem for us to deal with. A month went by before Mike and I came to each other and confessed that we had been wrong to say no. Even though we were scared to death of it all...we knew that God wanted us to say "yes" to these two babies in South Africa. So that is how we found ourselves in that hotel room. Still scared to death about what was ahead..but madly in love with these babies. We knew what a miracle they were and how much God had done to being them to us.

Josiah was left for dead as a newborn weighing just under 2 lbs. In the orphanage they kept waiting for him to die and didn't expend too much time on him till he was about 8 mos old. The Sister told me they then felt like he had a chance and he started to eat more and gain a bit of weight. He didn't move his legs and his feet were not developed. When we brought him home at 13 mos old he weighed 11 lbs. It was a miracle Josiah was ever found and brought to orphanage. It was a miracle he survived all those months on the weak formula he was fed by dripping the milk from teaspoon down his throat. When he came home he could barely sit up, couldn't crawl, use his legs or eat anything by mouth except fluid from a bottle.

Maggie was born to a very young mom dieing of AIDS. Maggie was born healthy but was HIV+. At one week of age she stopped breathing and "coded" and they resuscitated her. At one month they discovered she was had hydrocephalus (fluid on her brain) and she had surgery to place a VP shunt. The fluid on her brain was due to when she coded and had a brain bleed. The VP shunt was a miracle. They just don't do that for orphaned HIV tribal babies there. Sister Glorina loved Maggie and prayed over her daily. Usually at that time babies were not retested for HIV until they were over 18 mos old. If the babies were a false HIV+ then it would show them HIV- by 18 mos. Often babies died before reaching that age from virus' and diarrhea that swept through the orphanage. Sister Glorina wanted so much for Maggie to have a chance she had her retested for HIV at 8 mos of age. She was HIV-! There are more accurate ways of testing at this time but in 2001 it was not known if a baby was truly HIV+ or just testing that way due to bio mom's antibodies for HIV. At that time the adoption of foreign born HIV+ children was not allowed by the U.S. Since Maggie was now HIV- she could be adopted. When the time came to travel to SA for Maggie and Josiah we found out that the doctors and court decided Maggie was too ill and brain damaged to be adopted. I flew ahead of time to Johannesburg to address the court and the doctors to convince them that Maggie was worth adopting! So many miracles happened to Maggie before we ever even met her. When she came to us at 11 mos of age age she weighed almost 8 lbs. Once home the doctors here felt she would have only lasted another few weeks if she had not been taken from the orphanage and received aggressive medical care. Her body was in starvation mode and it took months to turn her health around. We could tell she had cerebral palsy but it was impossible to tell how affected she would be.

Adopting Anna was a scary thing for us. We had 7 bio kids that were about all grown. We had never much thought about adoption. We had NO IDEA the miracle it was to be given a child from God through adoption. If adopting the first time was scary, then adopting Maggie and Josiah was petrifying! All our fears came true. They were very very sick kids. Josiah did wind up learning to use his legs just fine. His first few years were fraught with lots of medical issues but he is now an average 8 year old. Maggie wound up being more affected than we imagined. I was so afraid of having a child that couldn't walk and had cerebral palsy. I wasn't even aware of the rest of the stuff to be afraid of! G-tubes and seizures. Getting up several times a night for the rest of my life turning her body as she can not mover herself. Near death VP shunt failures. Fighting insurance for medical equipment and supplies. The hardest thing of all.....looking into those eyes of hers that understand so much and seeing her frustrations with her own body. Never hearing her speak. Loving her so much and knowing she just wants what every little princess wants but she can not have. Knowing we can easily lose her at any time.

When we stepped out in faith and obeyed God to adopt Maggie and Josiah we were clueless. We had fears that seem so meaningless now. Stuff can actually be way worse at times than we ever imagined. Mostly we were clueless about what God was gifting us with. Josiah and Maggie are wonderful blessings from God just like any child. Maggie is so affected physically and so powerless in her surroundings. She is at the mercy of others for every single thing. She is a lot of work. But she is by far the VERY BEST thing that has ever happened to us except for Jesus dieing on the cross. All those fears we had...but no idea what incredible wonders and pure joy he was bringing to us in Maggie.

When I look at this picture taken in that South African hotel room, I can remember how afraid I had been. I remember my worries for the future. But mostly I remember how it began to sink in how many miracles God had worked to save these precious babies. My babies! How when things looked hopeless to those around them their first months, God saved them. When all doubted they would live long He brought them just in time to a family and U.S. medical care. He has a plan for them. And a wonderful part of the plan He had for mine and Mike's lives was to bring these amazing children into our world. God's blessings unfold and are revealed daily like an amazing masterpiece being created. How can I doubt His best and perfect choices when He has proven over and over again HE is the God of miracles? How can I doubt that Assefa and Gezehegn are not being held safely in His hands? I can't. How can I doubt that everything will be okay? I can't


Our Champion & Our Enemy

I have struggled with how to post about the situation in Ethiopia. I struggle with how to not live in constant agony and worry that Assefa and Gezehegn will ever pass court. Sometimes I just function by trying to not even think about it...keeping my mind on things here at home and just day to day stuff. They ARE our sons though. We may not have passed court so that legally they are "ours" but they are TOTALLY ours in our hearts. Making the visit trips and spending so much time with them makes it impossible for them to remain an abstract dream. Sometimes when you have a referred child and just a photo to look at it is easier to keep emotions in check and wonder if your child is even "real". Once you meet them you can touch them, smell them, hear their cry and their giggles. Then they are part of your real life experience and no longer just a picture on the frig. (have no doubts though that waiting for your child who is only a picture.... still is horribly LONG and PAINFUL!)

Court stuff has been a seemingly never ending process of delays. The delays have ranged from missing letters from original orphanage where Gezehegn was placed years ago too electricity being out on day of court so it was canceled. Court not agreeing to split cases of Assefa and Gezehegn (more paperwork for court). Huge batches of cases failing court after our agency had hired a new attorney and MOWA insisted the old POA (power of attorney) wouldn't cut it. MOWA not writing approval letters for cases without court date and court saying no new court dates until MOWA wrote letters. sigh. I only share a few of these court delay details. For those adopting themselves who are obsessively interested with court happenings there are way better resources to hear the facts than from me. I only give a short overview for those of you not obsessed with Ethiopian court happenings. Just understand that it just ain't the same ball game it was a few years ago. Ethiopian adoption court and government has been implementing a system whereas to protect their country's children from fraud, illegal activity and immoral practices. That bad stuff can happen and has happened elsewhere. When there is a "market" for healthy babies there will be those who want to make money at the expense of children and families.

Our agency AAI has done everything they can in our case. I trust them. The Ethiopian court and MOWA has been trying to do the right thing in our case. Not one person that I know of has maliciously tried to cause our boys harm. But the delays are harming them. Who do you know that would want to keep an immune compromised HIV+ baby boy or an ill toddler with Down Syndrome from a loving family? Who would choose NOT to help them if they had the chance? Who would put up road block after road block to keep them alone and endanger their lives? Who would try to keep them in an institution as they continue to get older and older causing them more developmental and attachment delays? Who would choose to keep them undernourished and exposed to multiply parasites, diseases and infection? Their enemy is not any one person or bureaucrat. Their enemy is much more evil than an ignorant office peon or overworked stressed out staff person. Their enemy is my enemy too and the only guy I am furious with. Guess what though? This is an enemy we can fight. Because the war is already won. The skirmishes and battles can knock me down though sometimes. In this battle we only have one way to FIGHT. We keep our eyes on Jesus and our ear turned to the Lord. And PRAY! God gave us such an awesome thing in prayer. He chose to make use of the prayers of His saints to accomplish His good and perfect will. When I pray to God about Assefa and Gezehegn so far away ...well, really I am praying cus "I" want them home. But what happens when I pray is that I get more in line with the Father's heart. I get closer to Him. I learn more about Him. And I hope I become just a tiny bit more like Him.

Please PRAY!!. Assefa has a court date the 27th on Wednesday. (it was suppose to be April 27th after failed date on April 3rd but was mistakenly added instead to May 27) Gezehegn's court file has been "open". It is in stack of cases that failed due to POA thing. They will be heard as court has time in normal scheduled docket. NOT heard by which case is longest waiting or sickest kids :-(. Most recently court or MOWA (I forget which) asked about Gezehegn's birth father and wanted more info before passing his case. There is no info. So AAI has been working on getting a letter from director of KT the first orphanage he was at. The letter can only say there is no info and they have investigated the matter all they can. Hopefully AAI will have the completed letter before Wednesday's court. Then both Assefa and Gezehegn could pass! With so many delays I dare to even have hope or excitement about court. I do feel SO VERY convicted to PRAY though and ask you all too also. Pray against the enemy's schemes to cause harm to these precious children and discouragement to us. Pray for our boys' health and protection. Pray that paperwork is all in order so they can pass court. Pray that God continues to give us perfect peace about His timing.

We have a Champion. He goes before us and stands behind us. He loves us and only wants the most perfect best ever things for us. He is all powerful and he fights for us. Gosh I love Him. Thank you Yahweh God.

Happy Memorial Day!
I am loving having the kids home today, trying to keep them quiet as Mike is sleeping and goes to work tonight. Better go to the park

Sunday, May 24, 2009

New "me"

I visited the my hair designer this week. I LOVE getting my hair done. Usually I am so overdue for a trim or coloring (covering my slowly graying roots) that I don't go till I absolutely can not stand how my hair looks. I made a change this time. This photo is hard to see but she didn't due the highlights throughout whole head of hair. The bottom was all died a rich dark brown, and only top was foiled and highlights with the brown and really blond. It is pretty different but I am happy with it. Mike LOVES the dark color on me. I should put this post under my "money well spent" group because the $110 I spent to get a cut and super coloring made me feel like a million bucks, not just 110 bucks!

hipper and younger looking today

Beer Bread

To break my several weeks hiatus from posting...I have something fun for you! Someone posted on an Ethio adoption group I am on, about a bread recipe that her Ethio kids loved. It reminded them of the bread baked in Ethiopia. I tried it and is is very similar to the yeasty white bread served at Layla for breakfast or with tea for the nanny's snack time. Mmmmm. I just had to try this recipe to see if it really worked (and it was good excuse to buy beer too) Recipe is 3 cups of self rising flour, 1 bottle of beer, and 1/3 cup of sugar. Stir it all together, put in loaf pan and bake at 350 for about 50 minutes. It was wonderful! I didn't have white sugar and added some honey instead, that worked just fine. I avoid using white flour and will try this recipe next with my freshly ground wheat and add the baking soda and a little salt to make my own "self rising" flour. I have done this successfully with my friend's easy and good biscuit recipe made with self rising flour, mayonnaise and milk. Substituting the wheat for white flour keeps it from being quite as light and fluffy...but I just keep tweaking it.
Here is some beer bread batter in our favorite dinosaur bread pan (Target find) This pan makes little dinosaur shaped bread, muffin or brownies. Notice it is shaped like a big dinosaur foot print?

Here's how it looks baked up. The loaf sliced and toasted nicely too! What could be eaiser?!

still gluten free but whose kids are not

Monday, May 4, 2009

Adoptive Mom's Retreat

It was awesome!! I am blown away with the special surprise of a TOTALLY awesome time at the retreat. I sure wish I knew how to link the place we stayed there. I will enlist the help of teen son who is tech savvy to show me how to link the site to my posts here. It is called Mountain River Lodge and it was so very perfect there. More on that later. I was stressed and ill prepared for my talks but they went okay. The very nicest thing was just how wonderful it was to hang out all weekend with a group of Jesus loving, God fearing, and spirit following fellow adoptive moms. I found myself surrounded by a lovely group of women who were like me! It was so extremely fun and pure joy. I had no idea how much I needed it and how very wonderful it was to be around like-minded people. Maybe you all don't realize that many think Mike and I are crazy or weird or just too far out there....too be normal people. I was SOO ministered too by the women this weekend. Worship times were meaningful and the food was gourmet. It was so very beautiful there too. I took a few opportunities to walk alone along the river and into the forest. Oh my gosh. I can't wait till next year cus I plan on going NO MATTER WHAT. The retreat was put on by Adoption Ministry which is who facilitated our Jonathan's adoption. I also met a lot of moms who have adopted through Youth For Christ. These were mom's who have foster-adopted. What a blessing all these precious mothers are. I learned a lot and now find myself just filled up and recharged. Thank you Lord