Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Our first week home was very challenging. David and I are learning to be parents while managing jet-lag and speaking two different languages. We have visited our local "Chick-fil-a" playground frequently. I'm getting sick of chicken strips, but enjoy the moments of laughter as the boys climb up and down the slide.
Wednesday night we took the boys to our worship rehearsal. They really love music!
I think the guitar is their favorite, but Daddy had them playing piano by his side. It was such a precious sight to watch them playing music with their Daddy. It was definitely a joyful noise.
On Thursday we introduced the boys to New York City. So much for keeping their world small. They loved the bus ride into Port Authority. David met up with my Dad and they
both took the boys to a motorcycle exhibition. I enjoyed a kid free lunch and some shopping with my Mom. It was a wonderful day for all!
We appreciate your continued prayers as we learn how to cultivate these precious gifts from God! We need more strength than we have ever needed before. Our respect for other parents grows daily.
This is truly a great adventure!!!
(my boys dreaming of the open road;-)
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Our first family photo may just look like 4 happy people that don't really resemble each other all that much - and on the surface that's all it really is...
But the truth of what you're seeing is much more than that.
OK, now is the time for the disclaimer... I am about to indulge in the bloggers greatest sin -
"TMI" (too much information). God has been so good to us and has given us so many infallible proofs that He is in our midst, that we just have to stop and recount as much of it as we can remember. Future blogs will disclose the challenges of International travel - jetlag - language barriers - the horrors of the unprepared first-time parents... etc.
But THIS entry is all about MIRACLES. Not what we asked for - but better than we had hoped (with apologies to Lynette Lewis;-)
We started trying to conceive in 1997. We were both healthy, both young, and both busy. We just figured "it would happen" when God was ready for it to happen. Career changes, promotions, exotic vacations, and all the stuff that a childless couple enjoys were just part of our lives. We didn't really feel the emptiness - we just knew that we were called to be parents. Then 2001 happened. We were called to leave our careers and re-enter full-time vocational ministry (that was pretty traumatic - but in a sense it was the greatest adventure of our lives up to that point). We reasoned that we had not conceived because God knew how hard it would be to travel in our old green van and raise missionary support for 8 months, and that was why we didn't have a baby yet. Four years later we reasoned that He had delayed our miracle because of the trials and tribulations of another new Church-plant in Philadelphia. Then, we decided that the almost-free IVF clinical trial that we qualified for was probably parent of God's plan for us to reach other people in our process. Even after our subsequent miscarriage we saw God's hand at work in the timing - but we didn't have children yet.
Then came the email on July 1, 2009 where t
he photo of waiting children at an orphanage in Ethiopia popped up on our screen.
All the time we were going through our stuff, asking God hard questions, asking ourselves hard questions, trying to persevere, giving up a little, reclaiming our position in faith, waiting again... ANOTHER set of miracles was taking place on the other side of the world.
A mother with eight children, living in a tribal village many miles from a settled town loses her husband unexpectedly to disease. She reasons in her heart that her two youngest children will not survive the hardships and challenges of life in their village, so she sets out on a journey of faith - to deliver her 2 precious young children to strangers - all the while praying that God would establish their way and protect them. Somehow, and we will never know exactly how, they find their way to a National Orphanage who turns them over to Hannah's Hope, where our friend Kelly Putty snapped their photo, which made its way to our desktop a few days later.
Their intake photos show two very sad-looking kids who seem lost. A month later Kelly took the photos of two kids who were adjusting well and full of life.
On that day in July when we saw their picture, one of our closest friends was also opening her email and seeing a photo of ANOTHER little boy who's story is even more extreme and challenging than ours. The picture of the BEST-FRIEND of our oldest boy was moving the heart of our friend a few hundred miles from us - and unbeknownst to either of us, we both began the application process that day!
Once we found-out about each-other, naturally we started comparing notes, and racing to see who could get finished with each hurdle faster than the other;-) We also began to pray earnestly asking God to allow us to travel together to get our boys. The Adoption Agency (All God's Children, Inc.) warned us that this was highly unlikely and would take a MIRACLE (duh...).
The "pins and needles" that we all experienced throughout December would take too much time to write - but suffice it to say that at times we were hoping against all hope that we would get to travel together. The good news is that we DID travel together - on the same planes - and stayed in the same hotel - just 2-doors down from each other! We took meals together, had our kids play together, and shared the joy of the kids' first airplane ride together!
Our little guys are adjusting to their new home, new time zone, and new language - but just as we (and many of you) prayed, our bond with them was almost instantaneous! It feels like we've been together forever. THIS IS THE BIGGEST MIRACLE OF ALL!
Monday, January 4, 2010
We are leaving this week, January 7th to travel to Ethiopia to get our boys! I haven't been able to sleep at night. My mind is racing with our list of things to do and imaging what our first encounter with our sons will be like.
Their bedroom is ready with cute bunk beds. Their little winter coats are hanging on low hooks by the front door and the bathroom is stocked with bubble bath.
I'm actually looking forward to little finger prints on our stainless steel fridge. I'm sure I will get over that quickly, but we have waited so long to be tripping over toys and wiping up spills that I'm even excited about that.
We will be flying out of JFK in New York with our friends from Nashville, to Dubai. After a one-night layover we will fly to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. On Sunday will we go to Hannah's Hope Orphanage, meet our sons, and take them back to the hotel with us! On Monday we will have our U.S. Embassy Appointment to get all the official paperwork done.
Please keep us in your prayers. We are praying for safe travel, for all paperwork & visas to go smoothly, and an INSTANT divine connection with these boys.