Tuesday, December 27, 2011

An Update from Jeff this time...

This update is being provided by Jeff (instead of Kelley, who normally writes these and is much more accomplished at this than I am) so here goes.

The past few months have seemed like an absolute whirlwind journey. I recall back in September when Kelley began pelting me at work with things to print off, fill out, look into, scan and email to people, or proof-read and get back to her about. I also remember her asking me to fill out my testimony as to why I believed we should adopt. That part took some time and soul searching but Kelley and I both arrived at the same place in that we believe this is something quite simply that God would have us do. We don’t expect it to be easy; we don’t expect it to be popular with everyone; we expect that our lives will change dramatically the first months when she is home and it will likely take a number of months of basically dropping out of society while we try desperately to connect and repair the damage caused by life in an orphanage. We believe that we are ready for all of this but I am sure that we will realize we likely aren’t fully prepared for what will happen. We will have to place our faith and trust in Christ to carry us through as He has done thus far in our lives.

When we first began this journey, I wanted some sort of visual reminder that I could look at every day to remind me of the things that are important. I wasn’t sure what it should be and I didn’t want it to necessarily be a discussion starter; just something between me, God and a little girl that He has chosen to be mine. With my job being what it is, I often face moments during the day that stretch my grip on the important things; I find myself speaking in ways that I am not proud of; thinking things that I shouldn’t; and contemplating/worrying about things that I shouldn’t. Having this little reminder has been a great thing. It is pictured here to the left. It is of a little orphan Ethiopian girl whom I guessed to be close to the age we will be adopting, she has her hair up in little bows, she is holding two little dolls and she has to darkest eyes I have ever seen. When I first saw it, her eyes seems to say to me "I am holding on, but don't waste time." I keep it in my Daytimer so I see it daily and it is a constant reminder of what is really important in life.

Kelley and I have an ongoing debate over how long this process will take. I (being the constant optimist that I am) have the following timeline in mind:

  • Dossier to leave Washington DC in early January and be translated into Amharic for use by the Ethiopian-based group named West Sands.
  • We would then have a referral in hand sometime in the February/March time-frame
  • After referral, we would get a court date in the May/June time-frame;
  • After our initial court date, and considering the rainy season in Ethiopia from mid-June to mid-September, we would hopefully have her home in late September.

Kelley on the other hand (not as optimistic as me) has our referral occurring sometime between April and June, court date in September to October and have her home 4 to 8 weeks later...see, I told you that is really pessimistic. I guess she would prefer to be pleasantly surprised and have our daughter home earlier than expected versus my approach which is to pray for her to be home really soon, even at the risk of being disappointed. That is what makes our home stay balanced.

Lastly, and I have shared this with others, I was not prepared for the realization that God already has us a daughter picked out. She is alive and is likely in an orphanage in Ethiopia. That is extremely exciting and amazing to me. But then the paternal part of me kicks in and I begin wondering to myself "is she cold?" "is someone mistreating her?" "Is she hungry? dry? warm? does she have on clean clothes?" "does she have shoes on her little feet?" It is then that I am overcome with grief and guilt because we have been given so much and want for so little and yet there is a little girl in Ethiopia who doesn't have those things and she doesn't even realize it. Also, I feel extremely guilty and selfish for all these years that God has been wanting us to adopt and was filling my wife's heart with that burden and I selfishly said no, for no good reason. I would encourage you (since you have made it this far in this post) to ask yourself a couple of questions that have been haunting me since September:

  • Why is God blessing you the way He is? Is it because there is something special about you? Is it because you are such a good steward of His blessings and you share them with others? Is it because He wants to grant you the American dream so you can retire early to a condo in Florida so you can golf and enjoy the beach whenever you want? Is it so you can have the big house and nice cars so others can watch you pass by and say something like "there goes that guy or girl that must be doing something right because God is really blessing him/her?" Let me let you in on a little secret: there is nothing special about you...The only thing that is possibly special about you is whether you have a relationship with all that is special in this world which is Jesus Christ. That relationship won't cause blessings to flow your way per se. It won't hinder them either per se. The only reason why God blesses people is because He chooses to and He can choose. It is because He is special; not because of you or anything you do, have done or will do.
  • Why were you born in America and not Ethiopia or Uganda or some other country? Is it because you are special (see first bullet above this one)? Is it because God didn't think you could handle it? What if it was because of God's plan to give a certain amount of blessings to some and a smaller or larger amount to others so that BOTH would appreciate HIM? For the one who has little, rather than feeling sorry for themselves and worrying about what they don't have, they praise God for His blessings and also praise Him when someone (maybe you) give them something in His name. Or on the other hand, for the one who has been given much, rather than building idols to yourself and standing with your head high and your chest stuck out, you instead are seen with your head bowed and your knee bent as you praise God from whom all blessings flow and you make it your life's work to give away all that He has blessed you with to the ones that need it most. What if you made it your calling to be a conduit of blessings (a constant flow) rather than a faucet of blessings (which is an intermittent flow for the times the urge hits you).
Does that sound like a crazy bunch of stuff or what? Do you think that is a plan that includes you? Do you see yourself in either of those two bullet points? Does your life fit in there anywhere? If it does, let me encourage you not to waste your life figuring out how to get your share of the American dream and instead focus on where you are, who you are there with and who needs to be blessed today just because God blessed you, not because you are a nice person or because you want the world to know. Don't waste 10 years on a selfish trip that leaves you feeling guilty and wondering about what could have been. Luke 12:15 says "And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

We will continue to keep you posted on how things go and who is closer to right in terms of the timeline for our adoption. You are free to comment here as to who you think is MOST right...take care and God bless...


  1. Great post Jeff! Makes me think of all my blessings. I am so excited for your family!

  2. I love you Jeff. What a beautiful post. I read out loud to Chris and cried through the whole reading. I don't tell you often enough, but it is such a pleasure to call you and Kelley friends. You are so precious to us.

  3. After reading this through my tears, i am so full of emotions and a newfound compassion that i thought i already had for others. Proof that God is continually leading us to different facets of our lives, both together and individually. Aware and open.