Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Zeph 3:17

For some reason tonight, a poem written 2.5 years ago came to my mind. I dug it up. Here is the poem.

Zeph 3:17

darkened playhouse
small church in worship
indie music on stage
percussion clanging
guitars sagging
praises sung

in the worshiping shadows
stands one white Midwest mom
with one dark Ethiopian infant son

now located in Nebraska cold
cradled softly in glad mother’s
outstretched arms
eyes filled with wonder looking up
to absorb his mother’s song

voice above him
assuring arms beneath
held in love
unfamiliar yet at peace
marveling to listen at the foreign song
of adopted love rejoicing

This song was written by Tony Reinke, a man I'm somehow related to, but can never remember how. That's beside the point. He didn't know who I was. (So I'm certain I'm in the 3rd removed category or something.) He saw Malachi in my arms at our church back home (in Omaha). Malachi had only been home a short month or so. I actually remember the service vividly. Malachi was so content in my arms as I danced and sang in Worship. It was a sweet moment with him. He would look up at my singing lips and grin. He would clap at the end of songs. And at times he would just hold his hands in the air as I sang (mimicking his new crazy charismatic mama). When my dad alerted me to this poem, I found it delightful, voicing what I never could (or at least not as beautifully). It's this picture of singing over my son .... of the reminder that according to Zeph. 3:17, my heavenly Father sings over me. (Hopefully He sounds better!)

You know, Malachi still likes to climb into my arms while I'm singing. I like that.

This post is completely random. Like I said, it just came to my mind out of nowhere tonight. (I suppose most things come to me out of nowhere. It's truly fascinating.) But it did send my mind to the girl we've fallen in love with. A child waits in Uganda. We wait for her. We pray for her. We pray the gift of guardianship be granted to us SOON for her. But mostly, I pray the last stanza of the above poem be true for our Ugandan Sweetie. We already love her. We will be so unfamiliar. We pray she has peace. Our songs will be foreign. Yet we pray she rejoices in our love just the same.

held in love
unfamiliar yet at peace
marveling to listen at the foreign song
of adopted love rejoicing

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Love and Hugs

Today I went to the website that had our Ugandan Sweetie listed on their Waiting Child List. My heart skipped a beat when I saw that her name was no longer on the list. I can't even explain how it made me feel to know that this one child....this one very precious child .... no longer had reason to be WAITING.

We've been receiving a few updates about our Ugandan Sweetie. It's been good for our hearts to hear what is progressing on the other side of the world to help make this all happen.

At the top of the list of priorities (for us) is that our Sweets needs to be told of the happenings in her near future. They will begin to introduce this idea of adoption to her, this idea of a new family - a new Dad, a new Mom, new siblings. And not just those things, but new color as well, new language ... ALL NEW. We awoke to an email this morning of an update of a recent conversation with our Sweets. We went back and forth between - "Oh, isn't that cute?", to "That just breaks my heart and makes me want to cry." Such is adoption, I suppose. Here is what we read:

"{mama at the orphanage} asked "Sweetie" about adoption and she said she would love to have a mzungu {white} mom and dad because they would love and hug her."

I don't care what color we are - the fact remains, she longs to be loved and hugged. Done !!!

Can you imagine how many children in this world are going to bed tonight without love? Without a hug? Have you ever thought about being the "mzungu Mom or Dad" to step in? No? Well, will you pray with me anyway?

There is an 8 year old, HIV+ boy at "Sweeties" home that is also in need of a home. I've recently started praying for him to not only be adopted, but to be adopted by someone that will be a part of our lives. I pray this for the benefit of our daughter and this boys hearts. How wonderful a thing to be near someone you knew on the other side of the ocean. How wonderful a thing to be near a familiar face, someone who gets where you are from. How wonderful a thing it will be to see one more child who has been waiting for a home - find one.

Here is what the director of our program was able to tell me about him:

"Mark" (not his real name, but rather his photolisting name) is about 8 years old. I met him in September. He's sooooo cute and giggly. Mark is a bit of a prankster. He LOVES being tickled. He really wants to be loved and cuddled but is shy about it at first. We played tag forever and he just stole my heart. Mark is HIV+, on ARV's and in good health. He is a double orphan living in small orphanage for HIV+ children. Interested families can email
His picture can be seen on the Ordinary Hero's photolisting.  Interested families will need to contact OH for a password."
If you want more info about adopting a child living with HIV, please contact me. I will tell you what I know, but more than that - will point you toward people who know WAAAYYY more.
So okay, maybe it isn't you who will adopt "Mark". But again, will you pray with me for a family to come forward who WILL adopt him? Even more specifically - a family near our "Sweetie". I won't be picky though - a family anywhere will do. :) 

These little ones need someone to love and hug them. I finally decided, it's heartbreaking indeed.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

It's a Girl !

It's a 6 year old girl at that! Yup! Remember in my last post that I told you I was hoping to inform you of some details soon? Well, here it is!

When we switched to the Uganda program, we knew we were changing to specifically pursue adopting this one girl. Well, on Monday our agency extended the "official referral" to us of this sweet, sweet little 6 yr old girl. (Sounds official, huh?) All that means is that we were able to review her entire file and decide if we wanted to proceed with adopting her or not. This is NOT a decision to be taken lightly, so we took a couple of days to really fast and pray about it. And today, I'm happy to announce .... WE SAID YES!! We would love to adopt this precious child!

So what's next ? Well, the Ugandan lawyer begins to process what is called an Affidavit. We then compile our Dossier - the remainder of the International paperwork (so backwards from every other country). That won't take long. It's a really short Dossier, and because we were already finished with our entire Dossier for Ethiopia, hopefully we already have whatever it is they will ask us for. (Each Dossier is different. They will ask different families for different things.) At that point, they file for a court date. We will have 2-4 weeks notice once the date is appointed, and we go! There will be two trips of 7-10 days, and only about two weeks in between the two trips. Because of this, we are praying about the possibility of me (Jody) staying in country the entire time (3-5 weeks total).

Unfortunately, I can't give any more details about her over the Internet right now. But the story of how God has worked in our hearts to lead us to her is a story I can't wait to tell. As for her story, well - we can't wait to find out more of her story, and graft her into ours. We are in awe that out of 150 million (give or take 10 million) Orphans in the world, God is leading us to this one.

We could use your prayers in several ways.
1) For her little heart. May she receive with excitement the news of being placed in a family - in our family. Pray that the feelings of confusion and loss are pushed aside as she instead feels the freedom to once again feel the hope of love, and family, and acceptance.
2) Pray for all of our hearts as we prepare to make room for one more in our family. There are of course a lot of practicalities that need to take place before she comes home as well - so you can pray for endurance for us all as we move rooms, sort clothes, paint walls, etc ... Pray especially for our 4 kids now, that they would grow in selflessness, as they will have to share Dad and Mom with one more little one.
3) And finally, please pray that her paperwork would be processed quickly, and that we would be able to bring her home THIS SUMMER before Court closures. Similar to Ethiopia, Ugandan courts shut down for a month or two. This happens usually from July to August ... but it could happen as early as June (and still last through August). Oh how I remember being in this same exact place of wondering if we'd squeeze in before court closures with Malachi. We didn't - and it was really, really hard for me. So I'm already praying for an extra measure of grace if we don't make it again this time.

This is all happening so fast, and yet we see the hand of God over every detail. We can't thank Him enough for his work, and are beyond blessed that He's entrusting us with one more life. We do not deserve such gifts, this I know.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

It's Garage Sale Season!

One of my favorite times of the year ..... GARAGE SALE SEASON !!! Aaahhh, the joy of walking around someones yard or garage picking through the stuff they no longer want. Wondering why they ever had it in the first place. (And sniffing it repeatedly only to return to find the laundry detergent used if you are like this someone I know!) Only to decide that even though they no longer need it, I surely do! I love it!

When we were in the process of adopting Malachi, we had the worlds largest garage sale. I wish I would have contacted the Guinness Book of World Records. No one currently holds the title of hosting the largest garage sale, but even if they had, I'm certain we would have beat it.

A little walk down memory lane:
For over a month, we drove around collecting items from friends who were willing to donate their "junk". (Some of them were kind enough to bring it to us, too.) I spent hours tagging, sorting, tagging some more, and laughing at some of the many things that passed through my hands. I mean, really, does anyone even WANT a platter with a naughty picture painted on it? No one but the trash I decided. We filled our entire garage, half of our neighbors garage, our front porch and the side our our house with STUFF. It was so great! The day arrived, and here was the result: (the same neighbors were kind enough to let us take over their driveway the day of the sale as well!)

Over $2000 was raised that day. And the best part? We got to share with many passers by the joy of what we were doing .... adopting a child!

Well, we are nearing the end of this second adoption journey. Wait, what? Really? We are? Yes. Lord willing. More on that to come. I do apologize for remaining silent these last few weeks about the details. Waiting and paperwork and more waiting doesn't leave much for interesting blogging. But I'm praying to fill you in on the details this next week!

Anyway .... where was I? Oh yeah, we are nearing the end of this second adoption journey. And with that, we are trying to wrap up the needed expenses we will be facing with travel. Sooooo ..... we are now open for donations once again. Drop offs accepted, pick ups being scheduled, sorry - no cleaning services available. :)

If you would like to unload some of your unwanted items, would you remember us? If so, please let me know soon so I can swing by with the trusty van. (Oh, we are shooting for the first or second weekend of May for the big event. So there's plenty of time for that Spring Cleaning!) And don't worry. If you give me some risque item, I promise to wait two years to blog about.