Saturday, June 25, 2011

Conference call news - week of June 6/21/11

O.K. so this is a little delayed ... life is that way these days with all the kids home for summer break.
I wanted to post a little re-cap on our agency's conference call this past week.  I went in with a anxious heart and came away full of hope!  For those of you following along, I wanted to update you so you too know just how to pray.  So here goes in a nutshell;

  • AWAA still sees Ethiopia as a strong program.  Both ET and US are still dedicated to the program and while the wait times are always unknown, there is still a need (lots of orphans) and there is still dedication to a strong program.  (whew ... I loved this!)
  • Previously, MOWCYA issued a statement saying they would write 5 letters of approval/day.  They are at this time, issuing 10/day.  This may change.  No one knows.
  • MOWCYA is behind on cases and are only currently at June 3 for approvals.
  • Judge in Ethiopia issues 30-50 cases/day
  • MOWCYA is still working through how adoptions to be process.  Still meetings taking place.  While it is still a sensitive political climate, the Director, they have found to be favorable/pro-adoption and is easy to work with/respond.  
  • Court closes for the rainy season August 7 and will re-open the end of Sept./early October
  • The "court" is closed during this time, however, MOWCYA is open so they hope during this time they will use it to catch up on backlog.  
  • A few agencies/orphanages have been suspended.  
  • AWAA continues to have a strong/transparent program.  Their is no concerns.  They have high standards for their work and for the orphanages they work with.  
  • Embassy is doing thorough reviews of cases and families should prepare for this.  AWAA has seen a few harder cases and some delays but feel it's a good thing that each case is reviewed throughly.  
  • Still issuing referrals.  Referrals can be delayed at times due to working to get children's paperwork/investigation complete (AWAA does their own investigations prior to referral), needing more information (may take a while to collect these things), health of children (will not refer a sick child).  
  • NOT looking to extend wait times for referrals at this time ... 
  • Will give referrals during court closures and until transitional home is "full" during court closures.  
  • Wait time fluctuations and increases has been/is common
  • could see more court dates before closure - few more weeks of time, however, families who receive referrals from here out will more than likely be after court re-opens.
  • Still meetings going on with MOWCYA and other ministries on adoption process.  Their is still much to pray over ... 
  • Rumor of specific cases per agency/per day not verified.  AWAA said this is not how court/MOWCYA letters happen.  Judge issues court cases and subpenas MOWCYA for approval letters.  
So, in a nut shell, that is what is going on in Ethiopia as we know it.  So we continue to move through the process and as with any international adoption - we pray and pray some more.  The reality is, the only thing we can rest in ... not our government, not Ethiopia, not MOWCYA, not America World ... but HIM!  He called us, we have to choose to rest in his call!  

Monday, June 20, 2011

A visible testimony ...

On Saturday morning, our family welcomed home "Rood"!  For 17 long months my Sister in law (Doug's sister) and Brother in law have worked to bring Rood home from Haiti.
Rood lost his entire family in the earthquake.  He also lost his arm.  The story is heartbreaking!  A story of unthinkable heartbreak.  I story of unthinkable pain!  Rood's mother put herself between "harm" and her son on that day.  As her home collapsed, she placed herself over him and for the next 2 days, Rood lay underneath is deceased mother.  The pressure of her body lay on him .. and he was trapped underneath an extremely small space.  Early on when asked how he managed to get through those hours he answered "by prayer".  The disaster of that day will never be a "distant memory".  For this young man, he lost everything and his daily reminder sits with him as he also lost a part of himself in the process.

But out of ashes has come beauty!  Out of despair has come joy!  While Rood has a long way to go and his family will never be re-placed, the Lord has paved away for him to be in "our" family!   He is still indeed, writing this story.  But with faith we know that he will complete the good work he has started!  Our God has been faithful to a young boy who made it through disaster and pain by doing the only thing we should all do ... trusting HIM!

We prayed long and hard for Saturday to arrive.  We were never sure if and when it would happen.  By faith, my SIL and BIL followed the Lord through each winding and emotional path of the journey.  At the end of the day, the only answer to his arrival and this answered prayer is the Almighty one who set all of this in motion!

Rood's home coming was a visible reminder and testimony to so many who watched on.  His smile and joy and the elation we all had seeing him walk through the doors was a reminder that He. Is. Able.  So many families watching on are also *waiting*.  Each of us longing for the day we see our own answered prayers and our own beauty arise from ashes!

With grateful hearts and elated joy, we praise the one who made it all happen!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

Dear Levi

Meet your Daddy ... THE BEST DADDY in the world!

Today is Father's Day.  I'm going to admit, I thought by this Father's Day your Daddy would definitely be a Father to FOUR beautiful children.  By this Father's Day, I thought for sure we would have seen your face ... and crazy enough, in the beginning, we thought you would be home or very close to it by now!

But, the reality is ... this isn't our reality.  Instead, we feel further from you than ever.  In an ever changing world of adoption in Ethiopia, it looks as though it could be a lot longer until your Daddy can celebrate being a Daddy of FOUR.  This grieves my heart!

Levi, I think in my heart you are born and very alive somewhere.  I am assuming that you are without a father ... perhaps.  If this is the case, today you are Fatherless in the worlds eyes.  So are a 163 million more children just like you.  This makes me ache inside.  This is not o.k.  Today, Levi, you don't know it but YOU have The BEST Daddy in the world!

Recently and often I hear people say "In God's timing Levi will come home".  While I know the Lord's timing will prevail ... I am going to be real honest, I just wish they would stop saying that.  I wonder, if someone came and took some of those people's children away and and then said "you can hold them and see them in a year or ... "in the Lord's timing" that they would be o.k. with that.  I'm not!  It. is. hard.

Levi, you have a brother and sister that grew in my tummy.  We know from science more than likely the day they were conceived there.  I marveled with each growing day.  I felt them kick, got to see their heart beat and as they grew bigger and bigger could see their little arms and feet move across my belly as they did.  Everyone watching on also got to celebrate those milestones.  No one ever told me "in God's timing" I would see them.  Of course they didn't, the timing was rather obvious.
You also have a sister, Levi, that grew in my heart.  It took 23 long months to "deliver" her.  But, just as with your big brother and sister, I also felt her grow.  Each day she became more and more real.  Each day, though I couldn't feel her kick, couldn't see her heartbeat or see her little body move within me ... my heart could.  Each day we longed deeper and deeper to know her.  But, with each day, often good meaning friends would tell me that I would know her "in God's timing".  It was so hard ... but indeed, they were right, his timing was perfect!

Levi, you are the same.  You have been conceived somewhere deep in our hearts.  We don't know the day you will join our family, but just as with all our other children ... we ache to hold you, feel you and know you!  We know God has a "timing" ... but today, on the day I hoped to celebrate Father's Day with 4 children ... those words don't hold very much comfort.

Amidst what seems endless delays, we continue to pray in Faith that you, the child that was placed in our heart, is being prepared for us.   We continue pray in Faith that while the world can't see what is being conceived in our hearts, HE CAN!  We continue to trust that he called us to Ethiopia ... and that one day (yes) "in his timing", we will be able to say his timing was "perfect".

Forgive us if today isn't that day.  Forgive us if today we just wished and hoped we could celebrate that YOU had a father too!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Middle of the night meeting date!

A few months ago there was some upheaval in the world of adoptions in Ethiopia.  The ministry that writes the "recommendation" letters stated that they would decrease the number of letters they wrote each day from what some believe was 25-40 (no one knows really the number, it's all speculation) to 5 a day.  Obviously, this change caused great stress in those of us walking this journey.  Less letters = less adoptions = longer waits.

During that same time our agency asked us to pray about these things as their were "meetings" going on.  Who were all a part of these meetings, I am not sure.  I know that agencies directors, representatives from our Gov't, ministries etc. supposably.  All those details I am not privy to, but I do know that during that same time our yahoo group for Ethiopian adoptions with our agency decided to create a 24 hour prayer chain and to cover Ethiopian adoptions in prayer EVERY hour ... night and day.  We had a sign up and we filled those hours.  AND ... we saw the Lord moving!  During that same time, I went to bed one night and told the Lord this "wake me when you want me to pray ... as you know the time and hour that needs the most covering".  HE DID!  Every single night for weeks he awoke me at 3:23.  I wrote about it here.   Go check out what he was up to.

So fast forward to now.  I learned yesterday from friends in country that there are once again "meetings" going on with the newly organized "MOWCYA".  While I don't know details and still await that "official" word, I do know that things don't look good.  During the first bout of these "rumors", I was in country before the "official" release and yet all the guides and precious men who we worked with were very privy to what was coming down the pipe.  While they didn't give me all the details, I was very aware that they knew of big changes that would impact all of us in the adoption community.  Weeks before the "big announcement", they warned me.
This is the case this time as well.  From those in country I am simply hearing that more slow downs are happening and more statements are being made.  Statements that would indeed greatly impact adoptions.

I add a note:  I have not heard this officially from our agency or any other.  

BUT, this is where the Lord and his holy spirit comes in.  This past Friday I had a very uneasy feeling.  I was watching while many of our families were not passing court because of that "letter" (also not totally uncommon).  We haven't seen referrals in some time and it seemed that many of the posts on the yahoo were ones filled with anxious hearts.  Feeling the same I felt prompted to spend the weekend in prayer and asking others to do the same.  THEN ... I awoke Monday morning to posts from a friend in country asking us to pray for Ethiopia adoptions and Tuesday word from some of those same sweet men saying that we need to pray ... pray for "meetings" going on with this same decision making ministry.  Do you think that was just a coincidence ... the Lord calling us to pray before those posts?  I don't.

So what's one to do?  Well, I won't lie ... first ... sob like a baby! YEPPER, I did just that.  It's my human side.  The side that says "I want my son".  I do.  This. is. hard.
Next ... ask for prayers.  Did this too!
And lastly, just before bed, just like last time, last night I asked the Lord "wake me when YOU want me to pray".

Wouldn't you know it.  I got my wake up call.  This time 3:14 am.   I awoke from my slumber knowing I was to pray.  As I sat up in bed and began to pray, with my sleepy, groggy eyes I looked over to my clock and there it was 3:14!  In the middle of the night, I wasn't sure if I had the energy to laugh or cry but I knew ... without a doubt ... it was the his promptings!  The 3 o'clock hour returns!  It appears, I once again have a middle of the night meeting date with my Savior.

You might think it's silly.  You might think there is no correlation.  BUT, I know the Lord and I know in Faith that he is calling us to pray.  We can choose to look on the circumstances of "meetings" and slow downs OR we can join him in doing what he is asking us to do ... have faith, pray with faith and believe he is at work.  Our God created the mountains, surely he is big enough to move them!

So, after a very long and emotional day ... I did just that.  I asked HIM when I could join him and low and behold ... it appears that the 3 o'clock hour here is a pretty important hour in Ethiopia (11:00am).

So, ask him yourself ... being a part of his work sure takes your eyes and fixes them on him, the mountain mover, instead of those "circumstances", the mountains!

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" - Phillipians 4:6

Yes, captives will be taken from warriors, and plunder retrieved from the fierce; I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save. " Isaiah 49:25

Friday, June 10, 2011

And the wait continues ...

Six Months Waiting ... 
Another DTEversary ...

 I know that by now many of you are so tired of hearing me say things like "Jesus, I was thinking today would be a good day", "another day of possibilities", "sure would be fun if ....", "Dreaming of Levi", "dreaming of the call", "Heeellllo 703, are you there", "Another week of possibilities", "bummer, not today", "5:00 Fridays are no fun in the adoption world".  

Oh believe me I know by now you just skip that post on Facebook or on my blog.  Ya Ya Ya, Another day, another month ... same story different day in that girl's world.  Geesh ... doesn't she think about ANYTHING else?

Can you imagine with me for a minute though being like 9 months pregnant (or at least feeling that way) and having NO CLUE what day might be the actual due day.  I mean, sure, we don't know what DAY our child's birth will come during a pregnancy, but we know that 1-2 weeks past 40 weeks, that some Dr. will say "let's induce, she's gone long enough".  He won't let you pop!  We know that we will muster through some sleepless nights, some uncomfortable back aches, a lot of waddling around, and a growing waist line ... but there is an ending timeframe that we can fix our eyes and heart on.  We have a timeframe and deadline for nursery preparation and well, the heart preparation that goes with it.  

Yep, that's pretty much the same feeling in the adoption world less one big thing ... a timeframe.  Having done labor and delivery twice and now a second International adoption, I will say in confidence ... I think adoption just might be labor without an epidural every day.  

Now, am I saying it isn't worth it ... NO WAY!  That's definitely NOT what I am saying.  If you are being called to adopt, know that those aches and pains of the process come with more blessings and joys than one could also imagine.  I'm certain ... like the epidural's I loved during delivery, that there is no way that I could get through each adoption process without the only epidural that this process allows and needs ... HIM!  Thankfully, our Savior does in fact give you just enough to get through each waiting day.   

So, today, on the DTEversary of 6 months.  Today, when I am waddling around like a duck, have an aching back, and braxton hicks contractions, I'm going to take the only med that does me good ... a little more of his perspective and placing my trust in the only thing I do know ... HIM!  

"We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal".  - 2 Corinthians 4/18  

"But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me." - Micah 7:7

Friday, June 3, 2011

Can you imagine?

Every day we sit and imagine all the when's and where's and how's of our adoption.  Even my kids do a lot of day dreaming and imagining of the moment they first see Levi's face ... the call ... the trip ... his arrival home.  It's not a journey that just Doug and I are on, but one that together as a family we have jumped into.

When the phone rings ... Canyon will race me to it.  He anxiously looks to see if it is a 703 area code, imagining what they will say on the other end.

Every time the phone rings, Maliah will yell "maybe it's a refewal".

The kids include him in their thoughts, their plans and our nightly prayers.  No, he's not just for the "imagination" he is REAL in their hearts!

Yesterday I got on the yahoo group to see what was going on that day.  It's become (I confess) a confession over the past few weeks ... looking for any sign of MOVEMENT.  I rejoice over court dates and am so excited to see embassy clearances.  I imagine with each child that gets to finally make it home, that their is one more place, one more little spot in the transitional home that could be carved out for my sweet boy.

Oh how I imagine.

So today, as I got on, I noticed one of the families comment that they had not passed court.  I could see from the jist of her post "title"what it was about but for whatever reason I clicked it open to see if their was more ... and there was!

This sweet Momma took a few extra minutes of her precious internet connection time to tell all of us anxiously waiting Momma's that she had been at the transitional home that day and saw 5 "little kids" being loaded up into the van for what appeared to be their medical exam appointments.  She then said "3 toddlers and two infants, I think".


Can you imagine?

What if one of those children were my Levi?

But alas, we don't know WHOSE children they are but with excitement we DO know that they are someone's on this amazing yahoo group of families I have come to love.  Those children are in preparation to begin the process and journey into someone's lives.  Can you even imagine how they feel?

So, I imagine that in the coming weeks a few blessed Momma's will indeed get that long awaited call.  A few anxious families will finally see that 703 area code on their caller ID.  A few long awaited prayers will be answered.

Oh how I can just imagine ...

What IF one of them was me?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Will You Dare?

My bestie ... the Rockin' Cindy Foote released her new EP - "No Double Yellow Line" a week ago or so.  She has bestowed an awesome blessing on us to join us for our "launch" night for the CarePoint in Ethiopia we are about to embark on called "Warancha".  We figured what a more fitting and perfect night than for her to release and "Launch" 7 songs on adoption/orphan care and for us (Ground to Cup Coffee) to "Launch" an entire CarePoint and an opportunity for you to do just what she dares ... Cross over that yellow line!

Here's a sneak peek of that EP ... hmmm ... I love it ... They are all great BUT, click on the drag down box to "No Double Yellow Line" and take that dare!  (Don't forget to scroll down and pause my music at the bottom)

Don't forget to register here and join us for an awesome night!  We cannot wait to see what the Lord has in store!

© Lead us to Levi

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