Sunday, December 15, 2013

So Close and Yet So Far

Just as a quick catch-up....

Since October 22nd, we have been waiting on the one piece of paperwork that makes us court date eligible.  This letter comes from the federal MOWCYA office (Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs, commonly referred to as "mowa", pronounced mow-uh).  The last time that I posted, I was sharing that MOWCYA staff were conducting an investigation and, as a result of that, no letters would be issued for up to 30 days.

As it turns out, the staff at MOWCYA were back in their offices in less than 30 days (praise!); however, late last week we learned that our case is, in fact, experiencing yet another "hiccup".

As a result of the investigation, all cases coming from ONE specific region must now be approved by the Director of that region's MOWCYA office (previously, anyone within the office could sign off on a case) before the case goes on to the federal MOWCYA office (where our paperwork has been hanging out since our Preliminary Hearing on October 22nd.

SO, as you might have guessed by now, our case came from the affected region.  What this means is that our agency's in-country staff retrieved our paperwork from the federal MOWCYA office and hand-delivered it BACK to the regional office for the director's approval.  Once that is done, the paperwork will make it's way (again) back to the federal office for that long-awaited final letter that will allow us to be scheduled for a court/travel date.

I'll be honest, I struggle to know how to end this post.  Yes, God's timing is perfect.  Yes, we trust in Him and it (His timing).  Yes, we are tired of waiting.  Yes, we long to meet our daughter.  Yes, we are thankful that you still care.  And, yes, we're okay....because she's worth it all!

There's nothing like adoption to teach you to depend on Him each and every moment of each and every day.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Difficult Week

It's been a roller coaster of a week for us in the adoption world.

As most of you know, our Preliminary Hearing was held on October 22nd.  We were expecting to receive word of our court date in 7-14 days but that did not happen.  As the days ticked by, it became more and more difficult to wait with confident hope (darn sin nature).  There were 6 other families whose PH's were held on the same day and four of those had received their calls.  In fact, as of today, all four of them have already been to Ethiopia and three of the four are back home.

I never knew how exhausting it is to live each day in anticipation, only to end each one in disappointment.  But now I know.

Once we didn't get our call right away, I was hoping and praying that our court date was going to fall during the week of Thanksgiving.  Both of our boys are out of school for the entire week and having a court date fall that way would allow the four of us to travel together to become a family of FIVE.  But it wasn't meant to be.

(Just as a reminder, what we are waiting on is a letter from the Ministry of Women, Children & Youth Affairs.  This final letter makes us eligible for a court date).  On Tuesday of this week, we learned that our agency's in-country rep went to the MOWCYA offices to check on the status of this letter.  What he learned was that that agency had pulled all of its staff and sent them to a region outside of the capital city to conduct an investigation.  (It is not uncommon, by the way, for MOWCYA to be doing investigations; it's part of what they do.  It is, however, unusual for them to send their entire staff).  He was told that the investigation (which began on Thursday of last week) would take up to 30 days to complete and, during that time, no new MOWCYA letters would be issued.

Though it wasn't the news that we ever wanted to hear (more delays, blech!), I have to admit that it has been nice to let go of the daily anticipation and just rest and live and prepare for the holidays.

And then Wednesday happened.

I received a call from a fellow adoptive Mom who has become a friend.  We have met on a couple of occasions and texted and talked quite often.  This family's PH was the same date as ours and they got a call that Friday and left quickly for Ethiopia on Monday.  While in Ethiopia, they appeared in court and were given custody of the sibling pair (brother, 8 and sister, 6) that they were adopting.  The judge declared that they were theirs.  They spent several days in country and then returned to the states to await the kids' travel clearance.  Exactly the way that it's supposed to happen.

However.....

On Wednesday, this family learned that custody of the children had been given back to the birthmom.  It is so hard to understand how in the world this happened.  And to know how to feel about it.  It is almost always in the best interest for children to be with their birthparents; I fully believe this.  But there is a family hurting right now who could use our prayers.  Please remember Thom, Lori, David and Katie.  And also "Y" and "G" and their birthmom.

Dear Little Sister,

I wanted to share with you the letter that our Jordan wrote to his little sister; he's quite the writer.  Enjoy!

Halle Yenenesh Williams,
As I type this, I’m sitting at my desk at school. It’s Saturday, November 16, 2013 and it’s a rainy Tennessee afternoon. You, on the other hand, are in Ethiopia, several hundred miles away from my side. You don’t know me, yet, other than the several pictures that we’ve sent you. And, I don’t really know you yet, either. I don’t know what your laugh sounds like, I don’t know whether you’re ticklish or not (although I REALLY hope you are), and I don’t know what it feels like to hug you. I don’t know what your voice sounds like when you say my name, and I don’t know what your favorite foods are. But there are several things that I do know.
For one, I love you. More than I’ve ever loved anything else in my life. Also, whether you like it or not, you’ve inherited a big brother who’s a bit of a hugger (just ask any of my friends). I also know that you are the most beautiful little girl I’ve ever laid eyes on. From the moment I saw the very first picture of you that me, your brother Braeden, and Mom and Dad ever received, I knew that you were special, created by God. I also know that He created you for us. You’re a Williams if I’ve ever seen one. I also know that I’m thankful that God has allowed me the ability to be a big brother again. This time, hopefully, the one you tell your potential suitors about, saying the words “You better watch out. I’ve got a big brother, and he has a beard.”
I also know that I can’t wait to hear your first words, whatever language they may be in. I know that the moment I first hold you, I’m going to ugly cry. So whenever you read this, I’m truly sorry for that embarrassment. I know that I want to see you ride a bike, play soccer, and guilt me into playing with you and whatever various dolls you may have. And just to dispel any doubts, no matter what I say, I will always love playing dolls with you. I know I can’t wait to hear you sing, even if it’s the alphabet, or “Jesus Loves Me”, or if I get my way, it’ll be something by Coldplay.
I know that I can’t wait to come to sibling days at school. I know that when you’re in High School, I can’t wait to take off work so I can come home to put the fear of God into some 16-year-old boy. I can’t wait to see you smile, as you take pride in the things that make you happy, those things you’re passionate about. I can’t wait to see you grow up not only physically and emotionally, but I can’t wait to see you praise and sing to the Father that brought us together. 
Halle, I don’t know when you will read this. Maybe you will read it at your wedding. Better yet, maybe I’ll read it at your wedding and ugly cry again (again, very sorry for that). But what I do know is this:
I love you. And you are my sister. There are many people in my life that I love with all that I am. But you, you are the only one that has ever stolen my heart and held it in your hands without ever uttering a word to me. I look forward to the years of laughing, the years of crying, and the years of tickling that lie ahead of both of us. So as I sit here and try to finish this letter through my tears of joy, know this.
I love you, and will always love you. Come home soon,
Your incredibly proud big brother,
Jordan Williams

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What's In a Name?

It all started when I was pregnant with Jordan.  For months, while I was expecting, Jeff and I would email one another back and forth during the day with name ideas.  Names would drop off and others would be added; some would be starred as favorites and others would be made fun of.

Several months ago, while we were waiting for our referral, I resurrected this tradition.  We've had many, many email exchanges, actual conversations and considered lots of different names for our girl.

Before I share the name that we've decided on, let me explain more about our decision.

"Little Girl" ("LG" for short), as she was formerly known, obviously has an Ethiopian name that was given to her by her birth parent(s) and we want her to keep that, of course.  We actually LOVE her African name but we also know that there might be a time when she doesn't want to be so different.  (After all, there likely won't be any other Yenenesh's in her school).  And also because even though she's Ethiopian born, she's about to become a US citizen (both countries will forever be part of her heritage).  Because of this, it was our decision to give her an American first name and keep Yenenesh as her middle name.  As we've shared in the past, her Ethiopian name means, "good news" in Amharic (her native language).  With this in mind, one of the names that we were considering means "unexpected blessing" and we just didn't think that it got any better than that.

Soooo......

Halle Yenenesh Williams

it is.

We love it!

As a matter of a quick update, our Preliminary Hearing was held last Tuesday.  We haven't heard anything regarding the hearing and have been told that no news is good news in this regard  Typically, you would hear quickly if there was something missing or incorrect in your file so NOT hearing is a good thing.  It is our understanding that our file is lacking the final document from MOWCYA (Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs) and once that letter is received, we will be given a court date.  Our caseworker seems to think that we will get that call THIS week.  A fellow adoptive family with our agency (who actually lives nearby) whose PH was the same day as ours, got their call last Friday and flew out yesterday (Monday); talk about traveling on short notice!!!  We are preparing ourselves for an equally short notice and I began gathering and pre-packing today just in case......will keep you posted.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Getting Closer

Two and a half months ago we saw Yenenesh's face for the very first time ever.  And, since then, while we wait for courts to reopen in Ethiopia, we've managed (so far) not to go completely crazy.  

It helps that we've been SUPER busy.  

And that God is faithful to sustain us during a time when there's absolutely not one thing we could do to change our circumstances.  Short of moving to Africa, I guess.

But now, we find ourselves REALLY starting to feel the reality, excitement and anticipation of what's about to come.  

As I shared earlier, our Preliminary Hearing (PH) is scheduled for next Tuesday, October 22nd.  We do not appear for this portion of the process, but our agency's in-country director and a representative of Yenenesh's orphanage will proceed on our behalf.  

The very next thing to happen following this PH (assuming that everything goes well) is that we are given a court date and, because we do appear at this hearing, travel dates.

I polled some of my fellow adoptive families (on our Facebook page) about how quickly this portion of the process went for them and was pleasantly surprised that it can be pretty quick.  I also emailed our Lifeline lifeline (pun intended) and was told that once the hearing takes place, it can take 7-14 days for a court date to be scheduled.  HOWEVER, she also pointed out that (because of the court's closure), there will be no backlog of cases.  We should be/are one of the first families with cases being heard once court reopens.  She recommended that we be prepared to travel on short notice - YIKES!

It is so surreal to think about the fact that we are finally fast approaching that moment when we will meet our daughter face to face.  

Please pray for our PH which will take place on the 22nd.  Technically, because of the time difference, it will happen while we are sleeping on Monday night.  

Pray for Yenenesh.  With as many emotions as we are feeling/have felt, I can't even imagine what's going on in her little heart and mind.  Adoption is a beautiful thing but ALWAYS comes with great loss.  Out of respect for her story, I will just say that she has suffered much loss and soon, though she will gain a family, she will lose everything else in her life that she knows, including but not limited to her culture, her country, her language; the nannies who have loved and cared for her and the friends that she has made at the Transition Home where she now resides.  Nothing here will look the same, feel the same, taste the same, sound the same or smell the same.  We must not forget that.  


Monday, September 9, 2013

Holding Pattern & An Opportunity For You to Be a Blessing

For you faithful readers (Hi Mom!:), you know that we are in a bit of a holding pattern at the moment.

To be honest, the timing couldn't be more perfect.

Imagine that, God's timing is perfect; hmm.

What I mean by that is this:


  • Courts are closed until early October.  For some reason, just knowing that courts are closed, allows me to be in a more relaxed, less anticipatory place (because, obviously, I can't do a darn thing about that).
  • Before courts closed, we were filed and logged in with the court system which means that we are avoiding the new PAIR process, which is such a relief.  I think the PAIR process will be a positive change but it will extend the length of time between court and Embassy.  Besides that, anytime you are the "guinea pigs" of a new program/procedure, there are kinks to be worked out.  I don't really like being a guinea pig.
  • Our Preliminary Hearing date was scheduled (see last post); so, right now, there is really nothing else that needs to be done or that could be happening.
Couple all of that with the fact that we have commitments every single weekend in September AND that we are MOVING in early October.....it all just worked out to be great timing in the sense that we are at peace with where we are at this moment.  As it stands now, we can get closed, moved in and somewhat settled in the new house before we travel for court.  And, by the time, Yenenesh is home, we will be completely settled and ready to focus on her and on our family.

In the meantime, as I am trying to be organized in our plan(s) for future travel, I wanted to share something with our local friends and family; a way that you can help make a difference in the life of an orphan.

On each of our two trips (one court trip, one Embassy/homecoming trip), we will take donations for our daughter's orphanage and for the Transition Home where she lives now.  We have been given a current list of the most needed items and I wanted to pass that along to you all.  If you have or would like to make and/or purchase and donate any of the following, we will pack it all up and take it over with us.


Gerber Cloth Diapers (LOTS needed)
Cloth Diaper Covers
Hand Sanitizer (large pump bottles)
Liquid Vitamins (for infants)
Liquid Vitamin D
Vitamins for Children
Baby Powder
Elocon cream
Bacitracin
Anti-Fungal cream
4 large mosquito nets
Sterile Gauze
Sterile Gloves medium
Vicks Vapor Rub
Scrubs (for Nannies)

Thanks so much!  







Monday, August 19, 2013

Preliminary Hearing and What's Next

I recall being pregnant with Braeden and trying to explain to Jordan that there really was a baby in there and it really was eventually going to join us.  For a four-year-old, the concept seemed a little far-fetched at times, I'm guessing.

Kind of the same way that this adoption process must seem to some of you.  

I promise we really are adopting.

Some very faithful "followers" continue asking, "How much longer now?", "What are you waiting for?".  And then others, I think, have given up.  : )

For those of you who haven't yet checked out, we received word today that our Preliminary Hearing will take place on October 22nd.  We do not appear for this hearing.  In our daughter's case, it will be between a judge and the Director of her previous orphanage.  We are told that it is just a matter of formality in cases like hers.  

Once it takes place, the next thing we wait for (Do you see a trend here?) is our actual court date assignment.  We will travel to be present for this date (finally) and it is during this trip that we will meet our girl for the very first time.  Of course, we're hoping that this happens quickly following the October Preliminary Hearing but, as you might have noticed by now, nothing is predictable.

We would appreciate your prayers for a smooth process; one with no surprises and one that allows our girl to be home for Christmas.






Thursday, August 1, 2013

Our Very Own "Good News"

This is the time of the month that, normally, I would be posting to share our newest wait-list update; however, I couldn't be more excited NOT to have been anxiously waiting for that email today.  Instead, I finally want to document the story of our referral call.

The Story of Our Referral

I (Kelley) was hosting a Thirty-One party at home which meant that Jeff & the boys needed to make themselves scarce during the gathering.  Since his brother, sister-in-law and nephew were in town from Georgia, it was the perfect time for them to grab dinner and ride out to see our soon-to-be new home (I guess I haven't blogged about that either; I'm so behind).  So, the party was well underway; in fact, we had reached the point in the evening where people were filling out their individual order forms.

Earlier in the evening, just as everyone was arriving, I had placed my cell phone in my bedroom on the charger because the battery was dying.  Little did I know that Lesley had tried to call my cell phone.  When she couldn't reach me, she called Jeff's.  They were in the car, leaving the new house when my oldest (Jordan) saw his Dad's phone light up.  He picked it up off the console and said, "There's a Lesley Scott calling you" and handed him the phone.  Jeff's response to Lesley when she told him she wanted to talk to us together about a referral was, "Lesley, I just crapped my pants!".  Leave it to him.  So funny.

Back at the party, I'm helping a friend complete her order form when Jeff and the gang come in the back door.  I didn't give it a second's thought; just assumed they were going to go and hang out upstairs until the party was over.  Now that I think back on it, I should have noticed something.  They all came in and lined up straight across the back of the sofa and were staring straight at me.  Jeff said something like, "Honey, I need to talk to you for a minute" and I wagged my finger at him and said something like, "In a minute".  (That cracks me up now).  He then said, "No.  This won't wait.  We need to go and call Lesley; she wants to talk to us about a 6-year-old girl".

The party carried on while we went into our bedroom to get Lesley on speakerphone and pull up our email to see the referral information and pictures.  I can't really even accurately describe what was going through my mind.  I was told by a friend at the party that I turned white and I'm not surprised.  There had been times that I honestly wasn't sure if it was ever really going to happen.


Seeing our daughter for the first time.


Once we'd seen the pictures, received and read the information and finished talking with Lesley, we let her go and allowed the people who were here for the party to take a peek at our daughter.  Once they had left, we called family members.  My side of the family is all local and we've said all along that we were going to have everyone come see pictures when our referral came.  We made them wait until everyone was here and then had them come to see her picture.  It was such an exciting time and we were still celebrating well into the night.  I think everyone left around 10:30 pm.

The Rest of the Story (bullet point style)
  • We were ALL in town; even my college student, Jordan.  I'm SO thankful for that.
  • The Thirty-One party was an adoption fundraiser for a friend who's been particularly encouraging and who is beginning an adoption journey of her own.  I think that it's so neat that we were together for the cause of adoption when our call came.  As one journey begins.....
  • My mom was here.  I always thought it would be cool to have my mom in the "delivery room" (I had C-Sections)....and it was.  So special that she saw our girl's face right along with us.
  • Jeff's brother Barry, sister-in-law Wendy and nephew Blake were here from Georgia.  Miles keep us from seeing one another terribly regularly but I love that they were here.  The back story to that back story is that Barry & Wendy's daughter, our niece Bailey, is adopted.  God used Bailey to show us how VERY much we could and would love a non-biological child...and boy do we love her. 
  • My friend Valerie was here.  Chris & Valerie are some of our dearest friends; friends who have also traveled the adoption road; bringing home their two girls Hanna and Aby in 2011.  I just know that our girls are going to be great friends and I'm so glad that they'll have one another.
And the MOST Important Part of the Story

Our daughter, Yenenesh; the sweet girl who was always meant to be part of our family.  She crinkles her nose in the cutest way with every smile and I love that.  She is six years old and we already love her deeply.  She is ours.

At some point during the evening, Jeff researched her name.  Yenenesh.  It means "good news".  And we couldn't agree more.

Friday, July 26, 2013

No More Numbers

This is the update that we've waited so long to write but, to be honest, I don't have time to really do it justice right now.  

So I'll just start with this:

WE HAVE A REFERRAL !!!

and I'll share more of the story over the weekend.

We are praising God for the "good news" of our daughter!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Monthly Wait-List Update

I've got some GREAT news and I've got some not-as-GREAT news.  This is me convincing myself that there's no "bad" news.  : )

Today is the day that all my fellow Lifeline families eagerly anticipate; some of us more than others these days.  It's the monthly wait-list update email.

The GREAT news is that TEN children....(TEN!)....found their forever families in the month of June.  TEN!  That's SIX infants, ONE older child (6+), a sibling PAIR and ONE child with special needs. That's GREAT news, right?  God is SO good.

The not-as-GREAT (but not bad) news is that we are holding tight at #2.  The family who has been in the #1 position but on hold for several months are now off of hold.  I never thought we'd actually see the #1 position (I thought we'd get a referral while they were holding) but it's looking as if we actually might (if they get a referral before us, of course).

The GREATEST news is that God's still in charge and still teaching us about who He is and who we are in Him.


Friday, June 28, 2013

Let's Talk Books

Our adoption waiting carries on and I've run out of ways to blog about that so I thought I'd share some books (adoption and parenting related) that I have read over these last many months.

We were required to read two books and I highly recommend both of them if you are journeying down this road and haven't yet read them:


"The Connected Child" is a great book for parents who are welcoming children from "hard places".  The book's authors are very well known for their approach to parenting adopted children.  Jeff and I were also able to attend an Empowered to Connect Conference led by Dr. Purvis, where this approach is taught.

The next book that we were required to read was, "Adoption Parenting".  This book reminds me in a lot of ways of the much-loved "What To Expect When You're Expecting" book that we've all read during our pregnancies.  To be honest, I can't recall a lot of what I read in it as it has been MANY months ago; however, it is a book that, I believe, will be a great source of quick reference in the future.

I also read the book, "There Is No Me Without You".  This is not an adoption or parenting book but it is a heartwarming and heartbreaking book about an Ethiopian widow who, in her own suffering, opens her heart to many orphaned Ethiopian children.  A great, great read.


I'm in the process now of reading, "I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla" which is a book about raising healthy black or biracial children in a race-conscious world.  The verdict is out because I'm not very far into it but I've heard it's a great book as well.


This isn't a complete list but it's some of my favorites.

In addition to these books, I do my fair share of reading a couple of websites that are dedicated to African/African American hair and skin care.  One of the favorites is Chocolate Hair Vanilla Care.  It is a WEALTH of information that I know will come in handy.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

What's a PAIR?

This past week or so has been pretty eventful in the adoption world.

PAIR - 

(Pre-Adoption Immigration Review) Process

Early last week the USCIS (US Customs & Immigration Service) put out a notice that some new procedures were being implemented in the adoption process for Ethiopian adoptions.  There was a conference call on Thursday for adoptive families and adoption service providers where the process was explained.  I won't go into all of the details here because, frankly, I don't necessarily understand all of the intricacies of it and you wouldn't either if I were the one explaining, but the gist of it is that the process itself hasn't changed, just the order in which they do a portion of it has.  The reason for the change is a good one (it will eliminate instances of children being declared "adopted" in Ethiopia but then unable to travel due to denial of Visa issuance) but we have been warned that the waiting time between receiving a referral and being able to go to court (first trip) will likely increase.  This change occurs September 1st and will definitely affect us since we don't yet have a referral and, at this point, it is impossible to receive one AND go to court before they close in August.

PAIR - 

Dictionary.com says a pair is:

1.) two identical, similar or corresponding things that are matched for use together (pair of gloves, pair of earrings); 2.)  something consisting of or regarded as having two parts or pieces joined together (pair of scissors); 3.) two individuals who are similar or in some way associated

And on that note....

Our original home study expires soon; so, today, we had our renewal meeting with our Social Worker.  It went well and we are good to go for eighteen more months.  We made a couple (a PAIR?) of changes to our parameters and we have now officially changed our paperwork to accept more than one child.

A pair.

Of sisters.

We also increased our upper age range from age 6 to age 8.

This doesn't mean that we will necessarily get a referral for sisters; it just means that if a pair of sisters in our age range becomes available BEFORE a singular child in our age range, we would prayerfully consider and be able to proceed.  We could still receive a referral for only one child (in which case, our original age range would apply; the extra two years would only apply to a sibling pair).

Jeff and I both are COMPLETELY at peace with whatever God chooses to bless us with.  One.  Or two.  I think that I speak for us both when I say that as we have prayed about this decision, over and over again, we heard God say, "Why NOT?", "Why WOULDN'T you?" and often even, "If not you, WHO?".

And so we keep on keeping on; waiting for our girl(s).

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Monthly Wait-List Update

We got that email.  You know the one.  It's the one that we once anticipated with great excitement and, at times, great dread.  It's the email that tells us where we are on our agency's wait list.  It's the email that contains a number that has carried a lot of weight around here at times.  Much more weight than it ever deserved.

That number is still TWO.  We have been number two since February.  That's four months at number two. But who's counting? :)

I no longer anticipate the monthly wait-list update. To be honest, were it not for the Facebook group that I'm a member of, I might not ever realize it's that time.  Now, what we anticipate is the phone call and the face(s).

God, forgive us for all of the times that we relied on the number, all the times that we put our faith and trust in the number; for you are the One who set the lonely in our family and whose ultimate plan for it is perfect.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Operation Abraham - Giveaway

Our boy Abraham is much loved.  And in a day's time (PRAISE GOD!), we came really close to the half way point of the funds needed for his surgery.  

So today Wendy (Abraham's sponsor and biggest fan & advocate) and several others are sweetening the pot with a little giveaway.

(If you don't know who Abraham is, read yesterday's post here).

So.....make a donation and then hop over to Wendy's blog and tell her that you did so in a comment on this giveaway post.  You will then be entered to win one of the many items that have been donated for this cause.  

There are some great items up for grabs.  T-Shirts from Project Hopeful, ONEless Ministries, Visiting Orphans and others.  There is jewelry, genuine Rwandan articles, Ethiopian scarves and more.



  

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Operation Abraham

There are SO many elements of this story that have me in awe of the God that I serve.  There is the absolutely immeasurable value of child and family sponsorship.  There is the element of weaving together of hearts for a cause.  And there is the work that God is ALWAYS doing, even when, at times, it seems that He has, perhaps, forgotten us.  But as good as all of that is, there is a need to get down to business in this post and so that's what I'll do.


Meet Abraham.

Sixteen months ago, a lady I am now happy to call friend, met Abraham and his mother in the trash dump community of Korah, Ethiopia.  Wendy says that from the moment she first saw his sweet face, she knew that God had placed her there in that very moment for a reason.  She told Abraham's mother that day that she wanted to help her and, at that time, her family began to sponsor his through Hope for Korah.  Since that day, she has prayed diligently for him and his precious mother.  But there's more.  You see, Wendy is the mama to two littles with Down Syndrome and, because of that, she knew that it was imperative that Abraham see a physician (something that he had never done in his 2.5 years) and soon.



Eventually, they were able to get Abraham to a hospital and, unfortunately, the news was not good.  Abraham has two large holes in his heart that need to be closed.  In Ethiopia, not only do they rarely do heart surgery on Pediatric patients, but they would not even consider doing surgery on a child with Down Syndrome.



For the past year, Wendy has worked to find a way for Abraham to have this much needed, life saving surgery.  And several times the answer has been "no".  But not this time.


Abraham will be traveling to Tenwek Hospital in Kenya to see if the amazing surgeons (US surgeons traveling to Kenya) can heal his broken heart.  There are two procedures that need to take place.  The first one is right around the corner.  He has an appointment on June 2nd!!!

In order for this to happen, there is an immediate need to raise $6,500.00.  Time is short but God is BIG.  Please....I'm begging....hop over to this site to make a donation; for Abraham.

OPERATION ABRAHAM
Click Below to Donate

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day 2013

I had to look back at last year's Mother's Day post.  I never dreamed I would be writing another while still waiting for a referral.

We had a GREAT Mother's Day, celebrating a little early on Saturday evening with my Mom, my brother and sisters and their families.  And then on Sunday, Jeff and the boys and I shared a great lunch and an even better nap.  : )

I look forward to next Mother's Day when our girl is home (still keeping that wishful/hopeful thinking thing going).  As I thought about her over the weekend, the main thing that I thought of was her first Mommy and the sacrifice she has made/is making.  I pray that she always knows that we are thankful for her, that we will always pray for her and that we will teach our girl to know about and love her as well.

I still have a whole Summit 9 post coming up, by the way.  It was a GREAT experience that I want to share.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

If I Had a Dollar

The question that I am asked more than any other is, you guessed it,

"Why is this taking so long?"
I mean, after all, aren't there 5,000,000 orphans in Ethiopia?

I have some answers to that question but I'm sure that I don't have them all.  One very basic reason is that we are working with one agency.  That agency only contracts with, at this time, seven orphanages.  That means of all of the orphans in Ethiopia, only the ones from seven orphanages are "available" to us.  And, to further complicate things, our agency isn't necessarily exclusive to those orphanages; there are other agencies who can "pull" from those orphanages as well.

The other thing that slowed things down for several months was the renewing/relicensing of all orphanages and all agencies.  This process was long and tedious and really held things up for a period of two to three months.

In addition, it has become much harder to declare any child a true orphan in Ethiopia.  New laws and procedures have been put in place in order to discourage corruption (which is a REALLY good thing).  However, in the end, this likely means that many more children whose history can not be traced and paperwork processed will likely never be adoptable; they will live their entire lives in orphanages and, ultimately, age out of the system.  It is such a difficult balance to achieve.  But the end result for us right now is that more paperwork has to be done, more investigations have to take place and more effort has to be made to ever declare a child adoptable.

Our agency has actually been fairly consistently giving out referrals; it's just that they have, for the most part, been for infants.  The truth is that had we been willing to accept the referral for an infant, we would have gotten a referral many months ago.  We were given the opportunity to change and lower our age range but we have always felt led to adopt an "older" child.  There are more families willing to adopt infants so placing them is never a problem.

As I mentioned above, there are many orphans (more than I can ever fathom or care to think about) in Ethiopia (and places like it) who will NEVER know the love of a family.  Many don't realize that this is the case but it is a very sad reality.  That is why, aside from adoption, child sponsorship, short and long term missions and supporting ministries who care for the unadoptable orphan is needed.  We all should be a part of caring for the orphan; it is so near to the heart of God.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Monthly Wait-List Update (a post filled with numbers)

Today was the day that our monthly wait-list update email arrived.

As we expected, we are standing firm at number TWO.

On a (very) positive note, FIVE children were matched with their forever families.  TWO infants, ONE older child and ONE sibling set of TWO (a brother and sister).

On a less positive note, the family who has been on hold at number ONE due to a concurrent adoption in another country, will likely be coming off of hold soon.  I don't know exactly when and my agency is unable to tell me; however, I believe that they brought their newly adopted child home sometime in either December or January and they are required to be on hold for SIX months (unless they choose to remain there longer).  Unless they have changed their parameters, they will rejoin the list waiting for a 0-4 year old girl.  I realize this comes as no surprise to our sovereign God but, I just gotta tell you, this whole waiting thing can really suck the fun out of life at times.

Shifting gears, for the next TWO days, we're going to take our focus off of the number TWO and spend it on NINE....Summit 9, that is.


We are excited to be spending time hearing some great speakers (like David Platt, Michele Bachmann and Dennis Rainey, among others), worshiping with the likes of Nicole C. Mullens, Steven Curtis Chapman and Jason Germain (to name a few) and attending Breakout Sessions about topics like Multi Racial Family, Straight Talk from Adult Adoptees, Human Trafficking Targets, etc.  We will also be screening the movie "Stuck".  My prayer is that we walk away from this opportunity with a heart increasingly broken for what breaks His and that we learn things that will bring value to our family, to our church and to ONEless Ministries.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Because........

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(For some reason, I'm having trouble embedding this video into the post.  I'll keep trying but, trust me, it's worth the click over.....)



In the months since we began the adoption process, many have asked why we are embarking on such a journey.  The responses to our explanations are varied; from those who (VERY MISTAKENLY) think that we are some sort of heroes....to those who think that we've lost our minds (and, yes, I've received that exact response).  

I've said it before and I'll say it again, there is NOTHING special about us, but the lyrics of this song so adequately reflect what's in our heart.  Every child deserves a home.


To be remembered on your birthday
Feel a father’s kiss goodnight
To have a mother wrap her arms around you
And say it’s gonna be alright

These are the things we take for granted
That every child should know and love
It’s simply heaven’s way of telling them
They are precious in this world
Precious in this world

Every child deserves a home
Every child deserves to hear the words, “You are not alone.”
Every life on earth is sacred
Every heart is heaven’s own
Every child deserves a home
Deserves a home

They are out there by the millions
Hurting children without hope
Little boys and girls who need a family
That they can call their own

Now it’s up to us to help them
We can’t just close our eyes
Jesus loves the little children
And His arms are open wide
They are open wide

Every child deserves a home
Every child deserves to hear the words, “You are not alone.”
Every life on earth is sacred
Every heart is heaven’s own
Every child deserves a home

There’s something in their faces that tells us their story
There’s something in their cry that keeps calling out, “Don’t forget about me.”
Red and yellow, black and white
They are precious in His sight
Jesus died for all the children of the world

Every child deserves a home
Every child deserves to hear the words, “You are not alone.”
Every life on earth is sacred 




Monday, April 1, 2013

Monthly Wait-List Update

It occurred to me today that that monthly email that, for so many months, we have anxiously waited on has completely lost its charm.

It came again today and, as we expected, we remain at #2 (for the third month in a row).


I would be lying if I said that I was anything less than frustrated and/or discouraged.  Just being real.  We do know where our hope lies and we know that His plan is perfect.  But we're human.  And no matter how hard I try, I just can't get excited about the prospect of more waiting.

We were able to make some forward progress with Jordan's fingerprinting today.  As I updated last, we didn't get Jordan's fingerprint appointment notice back with ours.  We went on Spring Break last week and I was hopeful that his print paperwork would come while we were gone.  But it didn't.  Luckily, our mailman is also a dear friend from church so he was looking out for it and texting each day.  Finally, I emailed the USCIS and, same day, got a reply that his paperwork had somehow been missed when ours was processed.  The nice lady was able to make him an appointment that day (for April 15th) and get the letter out to us.  The potential problem with all of this was that 1.) our prints would be expired by April 15th (which isn't a problem if we don't have a referral; but, if we do, we wouldn't want to have to wait on that little detail); and 2.) in order for Jordan to have prints done on this date, he would have to miss class.  SO....his Spring Break doesn't end until tomorrow so we took a chance and went over to the local USCIS office today (he is leaving later this afternoon to head back to UU) to see if they would fingerprint him.  And they did!!!  And so now we've all completed that next step in the recertification process and are good for the time being.  Our home study expires in July so that will be next.

On Saturday, my sister posted a picture of my 4-year-old niece having her little fingernails and toenails painted for Easter.  I can not tell a lie, I had a little moment of pity for myself; that I wasn't somewhere getting little fingers and toes all PINKED up.  Next year, we keep telling ourselves, next year.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

While We Wait

A Peace That Passes

It's funny....on our agency's FB group page, you can clearly identify where people are (emotionally) in their wait.  It has been true for me that my emotions and ability to cope has been ever changing as the months tick by.  For the moment, I am resting well in God's plan for my family but I know that, almost without notice, that could change.  I'd like to think, at this point (SO very close to getting "the call"...hopefully), that the one thing that will disrupt my peace will be the news of our referral, but if our  wait continues and my resolve weakens, I pray that I will remember all I've learned in these many months and intentionally leave it all up to Him.

The Name Game

Occasionally, Jeff & I discuss names for our girl.  Sometimes I think it would be nice to have a name in mind that we could begin to refer to her as (and maybe have something monogrammed.....after all, the girl is going to live in the south; it's a rite of passage, right?); but, for the most part (even though we do have some favorites), we don't feel that we can come up with something just yet.  After all, she will have a name and we will incorporate that in some way.  We will either use her given Ethiopian name or use it as her middle name.

For now, we'll stick with "LG".

Unexpected Blessings

(Well, here's a little teaser....one of the names that we are considering means, "unexpected blessing"; stay tuned:).

I have likely mentioned this before but one of the things that has been such a blessing for me has been the friends that I have made through this process.  There are several moms that I enjoy "chatting" with (though, at this point, it's all done electronically and we haven't met in the real world) fairly regularly regarding adoptions and life, in general.  Two of those are Lindsay (who received her referral in January and is waiting for a court date) and Ashley (who received her referral YESTERDAY:); would you pray for their cases with me; for quick movement for both.  Oh....and April also received a referral yesterday.  Extra excited for her since a previous referral was lost.  And, selfishly, I'm hoping and praying that we have our referral by the time that they travel because I know I'll be able to depend on them to love on and take lots of pictures of our girl while they are in-country.

A Teensy Little Pity Party (or just awe)

I guess it's a little ironic to share this next thing (since the beginning of this post talks about peace) but, because I want to remember everything and because I hope that something read here may someday help someone else (or at least make them feel "normal"), I'm going to do so.

Several weeks ago, I got the distinct feeling that our referral wasn't going to happen anytime soon and also that my heart needed to be prepared for families behind me (on the wait list) to receive their referrals first.  Specifically, I felt inclined to message Ashley (mentioned above) and let her know that I was expecting her to get her referral before me and that I was okay with that and wanted her to know, ahead of time, that I didn't want her to feel badly when that time came.

So yesterday, when she received her referral, she messaged me to say that they had just gotten "the call", and can I just tell you that I was (and am) SO over-the-moon excited for her!  Moments after I got her message, I got into the car to head to the school to pick Braeden up and while my radio played a worship song (that I can't recall right this moment), big crocodile tears escaped from my eyes.  I'm not really clear, even now, if those tears were out of happiness for Ashley or pity for myself.  I think it was a combination of both; but mostly I am in awe of a God who places the lonely in families and then, being the Master that he is, carefully coordinates all of the pieces to make the puzzle of that family complete.

Just the Facts (on Details)

Our fingerprints expire in April (they were good for 15 months).  Jeff & I have received our new appointment paperwork and will be repeating that fun process this coming Friday.  Unfortunately, Jordan's paperwork (he has to do fingerprints too; because he's over 18) and appointment haven't come in yet (they were processed separately last time too).  I am praying that they come in in time for him to have his fingerprints done next week while he is home for Spring Break (if the paperwork comes in, we will try walking in next Friday to take advantage of his being home; even if his appointment is technically for another day).

Thanks for sharing in our journey to "LG".....someday (soon) she'll have a name, a face, a home and a forever family.  We appreciate your prayers to that end!

Next fun thing......update home study (expires in July)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Super Bowl that never was and girls need dresses...

Today, while traveling home from Indianapolis, IN, I decided to stop at an outlet mall in Edinburgh, IN that has a lot of great stores to see what was going on.  It was this outlet mall that my wife and I stopped at a little over 13 months ago when we were on our way to the SUPER BOWL to see what they had for our family!!  It was February 3rd, one month after our dossier made it to Ethiopia and it was on this trip that we received our first update since joining the ranks of the "waiting list"...we were number 27!! Kelley and I talked a lot about what life would be like with a little girl in our home.

It is no coincidence that a little over 13 months later, I am in Indianapolis for a meeting and I pass this outlet mall again.  For those of you who don't know the story, let me give you a "fairly" short version:  on February 3rd, we were in the midst of selling my former company (O'Charley's Inc.).  I had known that this was coming since October 24th, 2011 (74 days after being named CFO of the the company) but I obviously could tell no one.  In January 2012, we were deep into the due diligence process with the potential buyer and our beverage manager came into my office and said "I have two tickets to the Super Bowl from Budweiser.  Do you want them?"  I had never been to the Super Bowl so I said SURE!!!  But, I needed to confirm the dates of the game and the timeframe for closing the deal so I told him to come back in a week or so and make sure I could go.  He checked back around January 25th and said he needed an answer.  My CEO told me that we would likely close the deal around February 8th or 9th, and I should GO TO THE SUPER BOWL!!  Well, I was pumped.  Our tickets were on the 40 yard line in the Budweiser box!!  Kelley and I made the drive up on Friday, February 3rd and had the discussion noted above.  We got to the "Bud Light Hotel" to our rooms, which were comped, and found lots of free stuff in the room.  That evening we walked around Super Bowl village and just tried to take it all in.  We were texting and giving FB updates all over the place.  We got to bed around 11pm, tuckered out from a long day.

Around 3am, I got up to go to the restroom and I checked my phone...it was going crazy with emails, text messages and voicemails from lawyers, my CEO, investment bankers, etc...I sent a note to my CEO asking what was going on.  He called me at around 9am and said the deal had changed and that the buyers did not want to give the stock another day of trading and so we were closing on Sunday...SUPER BOWL SUNDAY!!!!!!!!!!!  Well, we had to come home on Saturday, February 4th.  Since we weren't going to the Super Bowl, I thought I would try and make it up to my sweet bride and so we stopped in Edinburgh, IN at the outlet mall and bought stuff for our kids...she seemed okay with that tradeoff...

We got home around 3pm; I got into the office around 4pm and stayed until 10pm; I was back in the office at 6am on Sunday morning...we exchanged signature pages around 3pm and I left the office around 4pm on Sunday...I came home and it hit me; everyone in my life thinks I am at the Super Bowl and I couldn't tell anyone otherwise.  Kelley and I went to the bonus room in our home and settle in to watch the game; me with my laptop as I review versions of the press release announcing the deal until around 10pm.  During the early part of the game, my oldest son Jordan sent me a text asking "hey Dad, send me a picture from the Super Bowl" and I got up from the couch, snapped a picture of the TV and sent it to him.  He quickly responded "what the crap is this?" and I told him him the truth that me and mom weren't at the game but I couldn't talk about it until Monday morning and that I would call him at around 8am to discuss it.

A lot has happened since then:  we finalized the deal in May of last year; I stayed on until January of this year; I started a consulting engagement in February of this year with a company that had a Board meeting today in Indianapolis, which gets me to the point of the dress.  Did you know that girls love dresses and pearls...the photo below is a dress, pearls and hair bow I purchased for her on the way home...I didn't get to see a Super Bowl but man did I get to buy a great dress for my little girl...I hope she likes it...it was definitely worth it...







Sunday, March 3, 2013

Waiting sucks...but it is worth it...

At this point, we are around 14 months into a 9 month wait (my estimates only) and I am constantly wondering how much longer we will have to wait...then I spend this evening looking at another blog from Tymm and Laura Hoffman and I come away feeling so encouraged.  I am learning more and more each day that my struggle with our adoption timing is related more to my own preconceived notion that our process is supposed to be fast, not difficult and easy because, let's be honest, I am a good person; I am doing something good; I am doing what God would have me do...right?  WRONG!!!  

My biggest problem with our adoption, if I am totally honest, is my own sinful belief that my life is supposed to be easy because I am a believer in Christ.  If that were true, then wouldn't everyone be lining up in this world to accept Christ as their Savior because they wanted an easier way in life.  No, the reality is that my life isn't supposed to be easy.  I am also not a good person; if you really knew the thoughts that go through my head on a daily basis, you would not want to be reading this blog right now.  In reality, I am just a totally screwed up person graciously allowed to serve a Holy and Merciful God because of His goodness and His kindness.  PERIOD.



While I do feel like I am doing what God would have me do in adopting an orphan from Ethiopia, at no point did God say to me "Jeff, if you do this, I will make it easy, I will make it last no longer than 9 months and I will make sure that you get exactly what you want."  That is what I heard...but that is not what God said.  Many good people told me before we headed down this path "you need to be prepared for the cleansing that will take place in you during this process."  Man was that ever true...I guess God still has work to do in me through this process.  While I would love for Him to deliver us from this process by giving me what I want, I am learning more each day to ask that He deliver us through this process and make us into the family he wants us to be in order for Him to receive the Glory He is due and so that things will be perfect, just like He is perfect.




 To quote something I heard over this past weekend from Ben Petrick, a former MLB baseball player diagnosed at age 23 with Parkinson's disease, "I am getting stronger at being weak".  Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:9 "But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. "  I am learning this more and more each day.  I am also learning more each day that, in God's eyes, learning that lesson is more important than having things my way...that is something to lean on, even when things seem so tough.  

May God richly bless you...

Friday, March 1, 2013

Monthly Wait-List Update

Just as we were heading to bed last night, Jeff glanced one last time at his phone and saw that he had an email from our agency.  Just as we expected, we are, again,  #2 on our agency's wait list.

As I shared in yesterday's update, we definitely don't like that we find ourselves (still) here, but we're okay.

In the past couple of months there has been a lot going on in Ethiopia and in the Ethiopian adoption system that have had lots of things at a bit of a standstill (orphanage license renewals, agency license renewals, changes in how some paperwork is done, MOWA officials visiting the US resulting in a slow down of the oh-so-important letters that they process for finalization of an adoption).  Mostly this applies to families who already have referrals. Waiting, at that point (once you've seen your child's face) becomes an entirely new and different struggle and there have been lots of families in our agency in that predicament with no movement detected.

Our agency actually has had a backlog of families who received their referrals in late November, December, January and February who hadn't been granted court dates.  By the way, it's probably best that we weren't one of those families; I don't really think that we are going to do well in this second (waiting for a court date after referral) and third parts (waiting for an Embassy date after we've been to court) of our adoption; the part(s) that begin once we have a referral.  In fact, I've been praying that while all of this slow down has been going on, that once it picks up, it REALLY picks up.

Anyway, the greatest part of today's post is that on our agency's Facebook page earlier this week (I believe it was on Monday), we all agreed that we should come together and pray BOLDLY for movement THIS WEEK and I can't even begin to tell you how exciting it's been to see MULTIPLE families, since then, finally receive word that they have court dates, preliminary hearing dates, etc.  On Wednesday alone, THREE families not only got their court dates but had to be packed and on a plane within 48 hours of that long-awaited phone call.  They are Ethiopia-bound as we speak.  God is good.

In addition, during these days of praying specifically for movement, our placing agency's three-year license renewal was issued and many of the orphanages also went through the relicensing procedures (which does slow down referrals).

The GREAT news from the month of February is that 5 children were placed with their forever families.  Even more exciting is that all five children are children who are typically considered hard to place; 2 HIV+ children and one sibling set of three.

And, so, to wrap up this already too long post, even though our family hasn't moved an inch since last month, I'm feeling very encouraged and hopeful that it is only a matter of time; His time.  And resting in His promises.......

"but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint."

Isaiah 40:31

Thursday, February 28, 2013

While We Wait

I didn't take the time to look back but it seems as if it's been a while since I've done one of these "While We Wait" posts.

Aaannnddd........

I think this blog is needing something a little less heavy than my last few posts; so as I was thinking of what I'd like to post, it occurred to me that there are two things that I've been a little obsessed with lately.

The first is a song by Mandi Mapes titled "This Love".  It is a song written about adoption and is just the sweetest tune.  I've listened to it, oh, several DOZEN times.

The other thing that I love to do is look up adoption videos on You Tube.

SO....it seemed just perfect when I went to look for the video of the Mandi Mapes song and, BONUS,  found an adoption video that had the song playing in the background.

Enjoy.....


Oh, by the way, tomorrow is the beginning of a new month which means that, soon, we will receive another monthly wait-list update.  I highly anticipate that we will stay in our current spot on the wait list and, for now, I am okay with that.  I don't LIKE it.  But I'm okay with it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tapestry

There have been times during the adoption process that I have claimed to be "weary" in the wait.

Let me just go on record now as saying that that was (unintentionally) a complete lie.  This past week, I experienced an all new "darkness" as it relates to our wait.

Let me fill you in.

First, the obvious.

We've been waiting for a referral for almost 14 months.  A process that we were told, in the beginning, would take 3-4 months.  Did you "hear" me?  It's been 14 months (!!!) and we haven't even been matched with a child.

In addition, some of you may have seen my Facebook posts, etc. about a little boy in Korah named Abraham who needs a life saving heart surgery.  A local surgeon had agreed to do Abraham's surgery and we have been waiting for the hospital to approve his case.  Last Wednesday, we received word that his case was denied.

Though I was already struggling with some heaviness regarding the wait, it was this news that seemed to launch me into what some may call a major league pity party.

In addition, on Monday, as I was (internally) already struggling, Jeff voiced a question that, to be honest, I had already been thinking about but hadn't said out loud.  Hearing it spoken, seemed to make it that much heavier:  "At what point do we start to consider that God is closing a door?".

And, so, with that conversation, turmoil set in in my heart and I spent the next several days constantly on the verge of tears; questioning myself and God's plan.

On Friday, someone posted this song, which helped begin to settle my heart.


And then on Sunday, as our worship service began, my heart immediately began to be ministered to; first through the music and then through the message.  We are wrapping up the book of Ruth and our pastor's message spoke directly to my heart as he reminded us of how Ruth had become so bitter that she referred to herself as "mara" and asked others to do the same.

Like Ruth, I had spent several days in a place where all I could focus on was the negative circumstances that seemed to surround me.  And, to be honest, I didn't want to NOT be bitter.  But several moments into the message, my pastor said something about "God's silent sovereignty" that got my attention.  I then wrote the next things that he said in my notes:

God has not abandoned us.  
He is up to something good. 
ALWAYS.

His invisible hand of providence 
never disappears in your life.

The King of Kings is plotting and working....
always!  For your good and His glory.

(These are all things that I know, by the way, but I was blinded by my bitterness.)

He used a great visual that I think we all can relate to.  If you have ever done or seen cross stitch, needlework, etc. you know the mangled mess that the back side of a great piece looks like.  We can spend our days viewing the piece from the back and wondering about the mess that it is; but, someday, when you turn it over and see the right side, you will see and know that a beautiful work has been done.

This is true of our lives too; of situations in our lives; of our adoption story.  There are times, like last week, when I choose to look only at the backside of the tapestry that He is weaving (the circumstances, the wait, the frustration, the longing) and see nothing but a mess.  And then there are times, Praise God, that I am reminded of the great work He will do, is doing and has always done in my life and I am, once again, able to see beyond the mangled mess of the "back side" to the beautiful tapestry that He is weaving.  

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

57 Weeks Pregnant



Today has been a day that has been plagued with reminders everywhere of how long our wait has become.

First, I had a hair appointment and I think, AT LEAST, the last two times I've seen my hairdresser, I've left telling her that "next time", I'd have pictures of my girl.  And, at the time I said it, I just knew that I would...both times.  As she was asking me about it today, I found myself unable to confidently even go there.

Later, I got home and received a phone call on our home phone.  I didn't recognize the name on the caller ID but it turned out to be someone from our home study agency calling to talk about the upcoming expiration of some of our paperwork.  (Sigh!).  I shared with my mom that it felt much like the day that I stood at my OB's office 40 weeks pregnant with Jordan.  My doctor cheerfully said, "see you next week" (remember, I was ALREADY 40 weeks pregnant....and miserable), and I burst into tears.  The last thing that I wanted to do was "see her next week".  I really just wanted to be done.  (He was born six days later, by the way....and not because he was ready).

After that, I was chatting with a fellow adoptive mom and she and I were discussing the fact that there is now another rainy season looming in our future.  As you might recall, courts close for rainy season in Ethiopia (which is typically from sometime in July or August to early October).  During this time, NOTHING happens with adoptions in Ethiopia (well, actually, you CAN still get a referral during rainy season....but I rreeaallllyy don't want to still be waiting for a referral at that point).  Thankfully, that's not just right around the corner.  However, because court dates and embassy dates seem to be taking longer, it is a concern that if we don't get a referral soon, we could be held up by rainy season AFTER receiving our referral.  Or even worse, after traveling for our first trip and going to court.

In addition, we are once again discussing summer mission trips that Jeff and the boys had hoped to go on but, at this point, it is so hard to know what our life will look like or if, at that time, it will be feasible for them (as far as the adoption is concerned) to travel to Mexico.  Deposits are due and decisions need to be made but, again, we feel as if we are in limbo.

I'll try not to make feeling this sorry for ourselves a habit.  I'm typically fairly successful at remaining positive...but today's another day and I feel like I'm 57 weeks (the number of weeks we've been waiting) pregnant and miserable.