Monday, March 14, 2011

Yup, Uganda.

Well there's no putting anything past you guys, is there?!?! I'm obviously used to playing "I Spy" with small children.

You spotted it! There was a small word, Uganda, inserted in the blog title. Like I said, small but big change. Today we sent off some paperwork to ask to be accepted into the Uganda Adoption Program. This has been a bittersweet decision. Bitter because I've longed to be back in Ethiopia, I had my heart set on Ethiopia, I had tunnel vision for Ethiopia. It's sweet because we see the Lord's hand in it, and that's always sweet.

When we started this adoption, I saw a young girl on a waiting child list. I inquired about her, I was told she lived in Uganda, so I moved on .... after all, we were adopting from Ethiopia. So we moved forward at lighting speed (compared to our last adoption); and just this past Friday, we were at the very end of the "paperchase" (the massive amount of paperwork that needs to be done for international adoption). We had everything in envelopes, got our international fingerprints done and were about to mail off our first payment for the Ethiopia program.

There's two things you need to know. 1) Once payment is submitted, there are no refunds if you choose to not complete an adoption in the current program. It can transfer to other programs within the same agency, but our agency does not have a program in Uganda, so we would have been facing losing any money paid. 2) We were waiting to hear back on the status of a grant we had applied for, a grant we were praying would provide much of the remainder of our adoption funds. This grant organization usually takes 2-3 weeks to decide. We were past 3 weeks. This grant foundation submits payment to your agency before officially notifying you of approval.

Okay, so for anyone who reads my blog or who is friends w/ me on Facebook, you know about the uproar in the Ethiopia program right now. It is heartbreaking! Children who shouldn't have to wait for families are facing years of unnecessary wait times. We knew the wait would be hard, but we knew adoption was hard - and that for sure there was nothing we could do about any of it. There was nothing WE could do. God, on the other hand, seems to be orchestrating something we didn't see coming.

Remember that girl? The one that I saw at the start of this adoption? She once again popped up on my computer screen last Thursday. I dug up the email I had sent months ago regarding her. I followed the link to the email address listed to have more information about this girl. What would it even look like to switch to a different country? Not to mention a different agency? I mean, we were done with everything .... Well, here is what it looked like.

Friday afternoon - I sent a message to this new agency asking about this girl. We soon received a reply email with a photo and a short description. Sure enough, she was still in need of a home.

Friday afternoon - We sent a message to check on the status of the grant we had applied for, as well as explaining our possible changes. For all we knew, monies had already been granted on our behalf to our agency. (So remember, we wouldn't get that money back if we left the program.)

Friday night - (WARNING: This one makes the hairs on your arm stand up, or at least it does for mine.) We received a reply email from the grant foundation telling us we had been approved, and that they had tried to submit payment to our agency that week. But for the second time in their history, there was a glitch, and the payment could not be made. They stated to us that God's timing is not our own, and that they would gladly hold on to the grant until we knew what we were doing, and submit the funds to whatever agency we chose to use.

Saturday night - I get a call from the adoption agency who has the file of this sweet girl in Uganda. What? Saturday night? Yes, Saturday night. The women took the time to explain what the program looked like, what was required of us, etc.

Monday morning - I email our current agency to see if they knew of any children that they were thinking would be good for us. They told us it would take a few days to check with their representative in Ethiopia. Within an hour, I had an email stating they had already heard back, and that there was no child on their radar for us.

Okay, at this point, we KNOW God is doing something, we just don't know what. Actually, after the grant foundation emailed us, we knew that. So we spent the weekend praying about all of this, researching Uganda and adopting from Uganda, and prayed some more. To be honest, I needed to seriously ask for clarity of thought AND heart. I needed to know that I wasn't making a rash decision because of the changes happening in Ethiopia. I needed to know that I wasn't making a decision out of my inability to be patient. I couldn't wrap my head around NOT going back to Ethiopia. But there was this girl - this sweet girl - staring through the computer screen who needs a home NOW. She's ready for a home NOW.

I read a blog last week in response to the uproar in Ethiopia. For the life of me, I cannot find it. But the blogger wrote something along these lines:

If we are serious about orphan care, we would be adopting children off the waiting child lists, rather than standing in line waiting for a child. Less corruption stemming from "supply/demand" would be the result.

Okay, so again, that's a huge paraphrase. Maybe that isn't even what she said, but that's what I read. And it's what I needed to read. That phrase is extreme and presumptuous, and I don't believe that to be true for everyone adopting. Millions of healthy infants need families too .... in fact, one of them is sleeping in the next room as I type now. That doesn't make that route any less worthy or effective. But reading that brought me back to the heart of why WE are adopting THIS TIME. I really believe that from the time God planted this seed in our hearts to adopt again (which happens to be when we were in Ethiopia getting our baby boy), we knew it was going to involve the children less sought after. The older child, the special needs child, the medically fragile child. Take your pick. Regardless, my heart was shifting. It was shifting to a girl not in Ethiopia, but in Uganda. Aaron and I both stated this weekend, that where our hearts are right now is with being the answer to a current Orphan in need. And an Orphan is an Orphan no matter where in the world they live. So should we be so committed to an Orphan in one country? We decided no. Not this time.

So today we sent off our official application to an entirely different agency with the intent to pursue adopting this little girl. We are needing to guard our hearts, as there is no guarantee that she will be ours just yet. We are holding all of this with very loose hands. For all we know, God is going to move us to Ghana next week. No ... maybe not .... but we do want to be certain that we remain open to whatever it is God has. And today, that appears to be Uganda.

More information to hopefully come soon on this girl!

I spy

I spy with my little eye, a small, but very large change on this blog.

Can you find it?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The latest news ....

Hopeful news! NCFA (National Council For Adoption) issued this statement today that gives us hope! The last paragraph, even though unconfirmed, gives me the most hope.

Please continue to pray!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I made it!

Thanks for the prayers regarding my little public speaking event. Just wanted to follow up ...

So, I didn't throw up. Yay! Actually, I just heeded the advice to imagine everyone in their underwear. No. No I didn't. Then I really would have thrown up! ewe

Truth be told, there were so many people encouraging me via blog comments, emails, messages, texts and phone calls. People were telling me they were praying for me .... and you know what?!?!?! It was felt! I certainly had more peace than I ever have (while speaking), which was wonderful. As for clarity of mind .... there's really no way around that. It just won't ever happen. And I'm okay with that.

I asked Aaron this morning how he does this speaking thing so much? I'd be a mess all the time if I had to do it as often as him. A few people have been telling me over the last few days that the more I do it, the more confident I will become. My husband though? Well, he knows the heart of his wife. Here was his response to me. (Let me preface it by stating that he wasn't even directing his comment at me, I don't think. He said it very matter of fact, as if it was a lesson he had learned. Just don't want you thinking he was being mean to me....) Here it was - he said, "Well first of all, you have to remember it's not about you."

OUCH !!!! As always, I managed to make this mornings little event about me. I was working myself up, asking for prayer, being anxious .... because of me. Yes it's true, nervousness is normal. Yes it's good to ask for prayer.  But I took it over the line, I think. When he said that, I repented. Prayed for myself what I was asking everyone else to pray - for God's story and faithfulness to be known - and peace set in. It was wonderful!

The funny thing about me when I speak, is that I hardly ever remember the things I said while I was speaking, unless of course it was something I wish I wouldn't have said. Instead, I remember all the things I wanted to say, but didn't. I have had moments of both try to sneak in, and I quickly brush them aside and thank God for the words that did come out, and forget about the ones that didn't.

Now I pray that His Spirit works in the hearts of the women who heard my story today to prompt them to be a part of God's caring for the Orphan! To Him be the glory!

Please help now!!!!!!


Please read the statement put out by the Joint Council on Internation Children's Services. Then follow the link below to PLEASE sign the petition. Millions of children need YOUR voice. (Included in the millions is one precious little girl who we don't know yet, but already has our prayers and love.)

Thank you friends.

(Again, this is a secure and reputable sight. Please have no concerns of spam or anything - just sign. They are legit!)


JCICS Call to Action


March 8, 2011
Joint Council: Emergency Campaign for Ethiopian Children
What You Can Do:
1) Sign the petition to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi – and pass it on!
2) Have you adopted from Ethiopia? Please send us up to 3 photos and 50 words or less with what you would like the Ministry to know about your child – we’ll compile the information and send a book to the Ministry of Woman’s Affairs. Send your photos and stories to by Sunday, March 12, 2011 to be included. Please note that sending photos and stories gives Joint Council unrestricted right to use the information you provide.
3) Share…Please send this Call to Action to family members, other adoptive parents, and everyone you know! Post, forward and share your adoption stories via Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. Make sure you include us in your posts so we can all hear your stories! Here’s links to our pages: Facebook, Twitter and our our blog.
4) Stay informed: Get up-to-date information regarding the situation in Ethiopia by signing up to receive information from us: click here to do so, make sure you choose “country and issues specific information” and “Ethiopia.” And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and our our blog.
5) Help ensure our advocacy can continue: Joint Council is a non-profit and receives no government funding. Please join us in ensuring more children live in safe, permanent and loving families. Donate today!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Public Speaking

I've been asked to speak tomorrow morning in front of 200 women. I sort of can't stand public speaking. I know this surprises most people, given how much I enjoy talking. But put a mic in my hind and my stomach does flips and I my brain tries to run away. (Well that actually always happens.) Believe it or not, this includes speaking and singing. I just turn into a ball of nerves. Singing has gotten a little bit better the more I've done it - but speaking? Excuse me, I have to go throw up.

Anyway. I almost said no to this. I feel really inadequate. I was also uncertain about the "audience" I would be speaking to. See, I was asked to speak about one of my favorite topics - adoption! It's really, truly nothing huge. They just want me to share my story. I was hesitant to accept, because I was afraid people wouldn't listen as soon as they found out I was talking about adoption. Unless you want to adopt, you don't usually listen to someone talking about it. But caring for the Orphans has turned into something so much greater for me than adoption. It's that story I want people to hear. It's the story of God's redeeming work in the lives of these children that He loves. I want people to hear the story of His faithfulness not only to them, but to me. His faithfulness to me to be able to live out what He has asked of me. That's where most of us get hung up, if we are honest... trusting God to provide for us when He's called us to do something. I want the women tomorrow to hear just how big of a God we serve. So after much thought, actually, it didn't take much at all - as I quickly heard the Lord reminding me that this story is His, not mine. I don't get to decide who hears it and who doesn't. And I most certainly don't get to decide what is done with my story after I've shared it. That's up to Him and His Spirit. So I got over myself and said yes.

And now I'm scared out of my mind everytime I think about throwing up in front of 200 people.

So if you think about it before tomorrow morning, could you say a prayer for me? Pray that the story of God's faithfulness to the Orphan, both spiritual and earthly orphan, is heard and received. Pray that it spurs even one woman on to be a part of God's work in this area.

Dandelion Dust Thoughts

Aaron and I watched the movie, Dandelion Dust, the other night. "Intense" is perhaps the only word I can use to describe it. Several times throughout the movie, Aaron asked if we could turn it off. It was that difficult to watch at times. I had read a review stating that it was a great movie, and would make you question what you believe to be right and wrong when it comes to adoption. It seemed right up our alley. And yes, I do know that it was first a book. But that would have involved reading. Not my specialty.

Anyway, I don't have much to say about the movie because I don't want to spoil it. I do actually recommend the movie. Aaron maybe wouldn't ?? But that's normal around here. There was one line that brought me to tears though as I contemplated our adoption(s). I often think of Malachi's birth mom, and fully expect to have similar thoughts toward our next child's birth mother. Whatever the reason my adopted children needed to be adopted, they had a mother before me who loved them fiercely. I know this to be true due to the fact that they now live with me. Here was the quote:

"One Mom loved you so much that she couldn't let you go. Another Mom loved you so much that she had to."

I would do ANYTHING for Malachi, for any of my children. I have a child waiting out there who will also one day hold such a place in my heart. I pray today for the Mom(s) who loved so much that her love required  her to let go.

Have you seen the movie? Read the book? What do you think?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

You can help an Orphan right now...Make that 45 Orphans right now!

A lot of people ask what they can do to help serve the orphans if they do not feel called to adopt. Well here's a chance....

The Ethiopian Courts have made a decision to go from hearing 50 adoption cases a day, to hearing 5 a day. Yes, five. I'm not good at math, but I know that is a lot less everyday. I also know that what this means is increased waiting times for children who have a family waiting to actually make it to that family. It increases it by a lot. This ruling certainly does not seem to be in favor of the children, yet it is what has been decided. After reading some about it, I do understand that there has been a lot of "baby buying" in Ethiopia. I do not desire that at all, and have always been in favor of the rulings that the Ethiopian Government has made to ensure this is not happening. In my opinion though, this is not one of those times. It isn't uncommon in Ethiopia for rules to be made, then changed. We are praying this is one of those times. But what I do know is that an opportunity to stand up for those with no voice has risen. And it's an opportunity that anyone and everyone can grab hold of.

Will you please pray with us, as well as every other family adopting from Ethiopia right now, for the Ethiopian Government, the Courts, MOWA (Ministry of Women & Children's Affairs), and anyone else who has the power to make a difference to grasp just how bad of a decision this is for the children. Please stop right now and pray with us. We believe God wants these kids in a home. And we also believe there is someone who doesn't.

Last year there were 2500 Ethiopian Children who found a family in the US. If this ruling sticks, there will only be 500 this year. Stand with us for the 45 children whose cases will not be heard starting next week.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

And the winner is.....

Fellow adoptive mom, and sweet friend, Amber W. (It helped her to have her name in the drawing about 18 times.... no, of course, that was impossible.) Congratulations Amber! You get to choose between the sweatshirt and the necklace!

For those of you who missed this giveaway, don't worry too much, you'll have another chance after 100 more posts. :)

Sorry I didn't do the fun video thing while drawing the name. My cute children are already in bed, and I'm in my jammies in an ugly hotel one wants to see that. (Our house is having some work done, and we didn't want to live through the dust. This is why we are at a hotel.) So, you'll have to trust me. I do promise that I didn't rig the drawing, and I really did take the first name I drew. Just for the fun of it, I kept drawing to see what other names I would draw, but Amber got the next 5, too. Again, not serious.

Anyway. Thanks for playing along. More than that, thanks for your sweet encouraging comments. Thanks for being on this journey with us!

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.