Friday, January 29, 2010

Sporting our African Pride

I have been busy making some cute shirts for the girls and myself to represent our African connection. I thought it would be neat for the girls to wear them to the airport when we come home. A way that they can feel involved and supportive. And I wanted to have some for our trip to pick up the boys. to the fabric store to find some supplies. For instructions on how I did these shirts see this post HERE. I think they turned out pretty good. The girls selected the colors and we thought that the greens, brown, black and orange looked like good African colors.

Just a note, there are no words on the shirts, that is just a watermark for my pictures. For more of the pictures, click on the link HERE to see the rest.We are proud (in a good way) of our family's connection to Africa. I want the boys to understand that just like they will become Americans, we will embrace their culture and country of origin.
I thought these shirts were a simple way to show our support.

Dear Sweet Peas,

Today it is snowing. I wonder if you have ever seen snow before. The girls played outside as long as they could stand the cold and had a good time. Next winter we will bundle you up and let you explore the snow when you are home. I am looking forward to watching you explore your new world. I pray that I find joy in all of your discoveries.

Love, Mom

Thursday, January 28, 2010

How will we communicate with our new kids?

All along it hasn't concerned me too much about being able to communicate with our boys. They are little and we are creative so I figured we would just figure it out. Lots of charades and pointing and pictures should do the trick for us. But then I started thinking about how frustrating it is when you don't understand the people around you or when they can't understand you. It feels almost paralyzing. I am sure there will be times that it will be frustrating for both of us (mommy and child). Like you are trapped in a box and you can't get out.

Specifically I have been wondering about comforting them when they are sad or grieving. Or what if they are sick and I don't know they are trying to tell they need help. Will we be able to meet their needs when they require something? Not sure. I know that God's grace is sufficient. And I know it will be almost comical at times. I know that they will learn quickly and pick up our English fast. And I know that the girls will be HUGE helpers when it comes to this. The boys will learn so much from them.

But I am wondering if there is some seasoned advice out there for this. Can you pass on some Amaharic phrase book advice? The truth is, by the time they come to learn English, it will be the third language they have been exposed to. Any tips on this one????

Dear Sweet Peas,

It will be an adventure as we learn to communicate with each other. Hopefully we can giggle about it when we are stuck and confused. But I hope and pray that you always understand how much we love you and are there to care for you.

Love, Mom

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

unofficial travel dates

Just got our update on our unofficial travel dates. We are scheduled for an embassy appointment for February 22. There are 10 families on the same embassy appointment. We are looking at tickets for Friday February 19 -Friday February 26.

We don't get official travel dates for who knows when? Being flexible here. Not a problem. Learning to be breezy. On a positive note, it gives me another week of school with the girls here at home, more time to prepare and more time to pray about bonding and attaching with the boys.

Dear Sweet Peas,

I have my calendar marked with our trip to Africa. I am counting down the days until your laughter and smiles fill our home.

Love, Mom

Monday, January 25, 2010

Ethiopian Plane Crash

Not the best timing for this one. We are preparing to purchase tickets for our trip in a few weeks. It is never good to hear about a plane crash, but it was hard to sleep last night after reading about this situation online. HERE is the article if you are interested in reading it. We are praying for the families with our agency who are in Ethiopia this week to pick up their children. It might be hard to board that plane at the end of the week to come home.

We are also specifically praying that we get confirmed travel dates this week. I have tickets on hold and I have to decide by Friday if we will chance it and purchase them or wait. The embassy appointment that we are looking at is for Feb. 15. Please PRAY with us for confirmed details in God's timing.

Dear Sweet Peas,

I love how God has given us such a peace about our family. We all pray for you boys every day and we are counting down the days until we can come and bring you home.

Love, Mom

Sunday, January 24, 2010

adoption shower

We were blessed by our local friends who threw an impromptu adoption shower for us. With just a few days noticed these girls were able to throw a shower that seemed like it took weeks to plan. There was TONS of yummy food (all of which I had none of...I was too busy talking). And a house full of friends that God has blessed us with in just a short time. We have only been here a year and we are already surrounded by friends that are just precious. These families are so happy for us and are so supportive. We are so blessed.

From homeschooling friends, to friends from Chuck's work, to neighbors and fellow adoptive families ~ all there to shower us with gifts, support, love and friendship.

Our girls were blessed with a BIG SISTER shower. All the girls gathered upstairs and had their own snacks and fun. Their friends showered them with fun things to do while Mom and Dad are in Africa. Mad libs, ice cream coupons, disposable camera, balloon animal kit are just to name a few. The big sisters then played with toys and had a good time while the mommies talked down stairs.

Here we are opening gifts. These families went over and above. We were given lots of cute outfits just right for our sweet peas. Our boys will look just adorable in all there new clothes.

Sometimes I wonder if we ladies just need an excuse to get out and congregate together. It was nonstop jabbering.
I love how God has brought so many sweet friends into our lives. From our realtor who has become a friend to other moms of little guys who are just about the same age as our boys.
We have been blessed to be part of other families as they expand their family with little ones from Africa. I look forward to seeing our children grow up together.
Chuck and I made some fantastic friends with our adoption training classes at our local homestudy agency. I am so grateful that we can journey together and be a support for each other.
The homeschool group that we have found here has become a tremendous group of friends and support. These are beautiful and creative moms and I am so grateful to have them as friends. They desire for their children to walk with God in such authentic ways.
We moved here for Chuck's job and we are so grateful for the team of co-workers and families that are part of the organization. Such dear people.
Here are 2 adoption mommies who are with the same agency. I am so grateful that we are part of a group that has such love and connection with each other. God even placed one just down the street from us.
Here on the left is my sweet friend who opened her home and hosted this party with help from a great group of gals.

I know I didn't get pictures of everyone, but I want to express our gratitude for the blessing of the shower. Thank you all so much for sharing in our joy. I know that not every family who adopts is able to experience this kind of support and we are so thankful. Thank you for rejoicing with us God's blessing of children, no matter how they enter our family.

Dear Sweet Peas,

We had such a good time celebrating your arrival. There is a group of people here in our lives that are so excited that you are part of our family. We are so thankful for the support and love of those who are near to us.

We have lots of new clothes for you. We are getting ready for you to come home. Just a little longer.

Love, Mom

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

an orchestra

I have been praying a lot for our family as we prepare to adjust to our new arrivals. I have been praying that we all connect and bond and attach, I am sure every adoptive family prays for the same thing. We have also talked a lot about how our family will feel very different when the boys come home. I want the girls to be prepared for this the best that they can be, so we talk about it honestly.

One night we spent some time discussing how adoption is full of gains and losses. If you have done your homework and taken the classes and read the books, this is not new to you. We all like to think about the gains, but not about the losses. But the truth is, we all will go through losses. I am pretty sure the boys will express in some way, their grief as they process through it. The may even have some trauma to deal with too.

All of that adds up to a funky family dynamic. You see, we have been functioning as a family of 4 for about ten years. It has taken some time to find our groove, but I think we have indeed found one. Kind of like an orchestra. We each have our parts, we each are different and have our own strengths, but when we work together, we sound pretty good. When we are on the same page, it can hopefully be beautiful music and we can be an enjoyment to be around.

But soon we will be adding 2 new member to the orchestra. They have never played before. They don't even understand that music is to come out of the instrument (they might think it is to bang on the ground). They won't understand how to read the notes and follow the conductor. It won't make sense to them to listen to each other and work together. We will sound like an awful squeaky warm up session. Maybe even painful to listen too.

Hopefully though, when we have been together for some time, we will sound like an orchestra. It might sound like one that is just starting out and it won't have the refinement of a group that has the luxury of working together for years. But hopefully, if we practice and are intentional we will blend. Each playing his own part, but making the others more beautiful for being together.

My desire is to follow our Heavenly Father (the conductor) and trust that He has brought miss matched groups together before and worked on them until they made beautiful music. But for some time, we may look and sound like an out of tune warm up session. And that is okay.

Dear Sweet Peas,

We have been praying that our family would blend well together. Hopeful that we can all see that God knit our family together from before the foundation of the world.

I looked at tickets today to come and meet you and bring you home. We will hopefully be there soon.

Love, Mom

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Getting the boy's room ready

We have been working hard around the house to make our preparations for the boys. We moved the girls room around and got their room all done and looking cute last weekend and this weekend we worked on the boy's room. We were in need of 2 twin beds for the boys. A friend found some free bunk beds on Craig's List and Chuck zipped on over and picked them up. It was a first come, gets them, kind of a thing. He unloaded them into the garage and he had his doubts if we could make them work. They were covered in stickers and marker scribbles. I, however was determined to make them work. They were FREE and you can't get better than that. First job...get rid of the honey stain and figure out how to cover up the horse.

First I scraped off the stickers and then Chuck sanded them down. They were looking better already.
It took a few nights just to get them prepped for painting. We decided to use paint to cover up any musty smell that might have been lingering.
My idea for their room was to make some kind of an "L" bed. I wanted one bed to be about on the floor (kind of like a trundle) so our little one won't fall out. I think he is going to out grow a crib all too soon, so we decided to go for twin beds for both of them. I found some bedding on sale at Target and we decided to go with a "garage" kind of theme. Chuck has collected old license plates for years and we thought they were perfect to cover up the horses.
We added old hubcaps above the window and put their names on the wall.
I just have to say...this room is so cute. I wanted something that would grow with them and not be too babyish. I just love it.
Chuck had this old speed limit sign in his office and I nabbed it. It is HUGE and looks so cool.
You can see the lower bed tucks under the upper bed and gives plenty of room for our little one. We adjusted the beds so if we ever want to make them bunks or standard side by side twins, we can change them easily.

This room has a little nook off of it. It gets great afternoon light and is bright and cheery. We didn't have time to paint the whole room, so we decided to hang a homemade piece of art on the wall to add some color.Here is a view of the room from the nook side. It feels like such a great space for these boys to grow up in. I hope they love it and feel like it is home. I think the girls like it so much, they kind of wish it was their room. Except for it being a BOY room, they love it. =)

Dear Sweet Peas,

We had so much fun working in your room and getting it ready for you. I spent a LOT of time praying in there for you guys. I look forward to the day that you feel like it is home, and that you long to be nowhere else.

Love, Mom

Friday, January 15, 2010

We PASSED court !!!!!!!!

Praising GOD !!!! He is so good. My mind is just spinning....and we are thrilled.

Thank you for praying with us!!!! We are so grateful for all of the love and support.

Dear Sweet Peas,

We are coming !!! You are now part of our family. I can hardly stand the excitement. We are so happy to hear the great news that you are now officially part of the family.

Love, Mom

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tonight while we sleep...

(let's be honest...I don't think we will sleep too much) someone from our agency will represent us in the adoption court in Ethiopia. So many thoughts are running through my head today. Will the birth mother be able to be there? Is all of our paperwork in just the right place? Did MOWA get their letter of recommendation written? Is it God's will for our case to pass the first time in the court system? Rather than focusing on my concerns, I am going to lay them at God's feet and trust in my heavenly Father. Will you join our family in prayer?

We are going to spend our evening praying. If you feel led, these are the things we are praying for.

Praying for the birth mom.
  • For her to be able to make it to court.
  • For her to have the proper ID with her.
  • For peace in her decision in her adoption plan for the boys.
  • For blessings and protection for her.

For the court system.

  • For the Ministry Of Women's Affair to have their letter of recommendation done and in place.
  • For our POA from our agency - for her protection and mercy.
  • For our judge to have a heart for adoption and blessing on our family.
  • For all of our paperwork to be available and just right.

For our boys.

  • For their hearts to be prepared for our family.
  • For them to attach and bond with us.
  • For their complete healing of their body, mind, heart.
  • For a good transition into our family.
  • For a good connection with our girls.
  • For them to come to know Christ as their personal savior.
  • For better health than we anticipate.
  • For their protection and safety.
  • That God will raise them to be godly men and be used in positive and powerful ways.

For our girls.

  • For our time apart while we are in Africa.
  • For a smooth transition to being big sisters.
  • To understand why our family dynamics will be different and strange for awhile.
  • To be able to demonstrate the love of Christ to the boys.
  • To be OK with less of Mom's time.
  • To have a good attitude about all the sacrifices they will have to be part of.
  • To be able to process their feelings well.

For Chuck and Cris.

  • For us to attach and connect well with the boys.
  • For our health and safety when we travel.
  • For God's continued provision as we pay for the travel funds.
  • For Cris' time to be multiplied to care for all the needs of 4 kids.
  • For our adjustment back into having a baby/toddler and a preschooler.
  • For us to continue to focus on the positive things as we encounter difficult stages.
  • To be able to demonstrate God's love and kindness to our new kids.
  • For our adjustment all together with our new kids.
  • To remember all the training and education we have learned.
  • For wisdom to parent our boys in a way that will only benefit them.

For our family.

  • To be a positive example of adoption and be advocates for other orphaned children.
  • For protection from the evil one and his workers.
  • For the grandparents to be able to focus on what is best for our new boys.
  • That our extended family can be a positive example of accepting adopted children the same as birth children.
  • For wisdom to handle racial difficulties and protection from those situations.
  • To be a positive example of racially diverse family. Showing that God sees His whole family in a variety of shades.
  • To demonstrate God's heart for adoption.

Just wanted to pass on a few blogs from today that really touched my heart. Andrea (HERE) has such beautiful words from God's Word today. And HERE is a letter from a mom who is in the process of adoption who is struggling with her family and the lack of support and encouragement.

Dear Sweet Peas,

We are hopeful that tonight our adoption case will pass court in Ethiopia. We are preparing our home for your arrival. And praying that God prepares you both for us.

We love you, Love, Mom

Monday, January 11, 2010

more preperations

Got some Hep A and B shots today. Trying to make sure we have our act together just in case we pass court this week. I have been guarding my heart and trying not to get my hopes up...but...I think I let my mind start to wander into the possibility of going soon to bring the boys home.

This weekend we moved the girls into the same room and got their room all ready to become the "girl room" . And we are working on making up the "boy room". We are still short on beds and clothes but at least we have a plan now. I can only guess on their sizes and hopefully we will get some more concrete info on sizes before we travel. I need to start getting diapers again and find some sippy cups (maybe the little one still uses a bottle???). But honestly, this is the fun kind of planning. Much more enjoyable than paperwork. =)

I was able to talk to another adoptive mom who recently returned from the orphanage where the boys are and get some first hand reports on how cute our little guys are. It was the most amazing and heart warming call. I had not asked this family to "look out for our boys" but I took a chance and thought I would ask if they saw them (there are about 60 children in the transition home where our boys are, so it was a bit of a gamble if she remembered them). Turns out they were the 2 kids that stuck out in their minds the most. They were so thrilled to share that they loved on our sweet boys and how precious they are. Oh...just the kind of report a momma wants to here.

Please PLEASE PLEASE pray with us about our court date. It will be Thursday night when we are all in bed. January 15. Praying for our birth mom and trusting she will be able to travel and be at the right place at the right time. We are also praying for all the proper paperwork to be in place.

Dear Sweet Peas,

Oh...We are trying to imagine your sweet smiles and precious faces. We are so thankful you are in a place now that is preparing you for our family. We are trusting God for the right timing to bring you home. I can't wait until we can hold you in our arms and hug you in person.

Love, Mom

Thursday, January 7, 2010

a little care package

We sent a little care package off in the mail today. Our agency allows us to send a small picture album with a few pictures in it (one of our home, ones of us, our pet, and the pictures we have of the boys). We were also able to include a "cozy". Something they can keep in their bed and hug at night time. There is a chance that this snugly doesn't make it back home with us, so we went and got some new bears to send. We all slept with the bears so they will smell like us. And of course so we could send our love and hugs via the bears. Hopefully these bears are able to provide some comfort until we can get to Ethiopia and give our love and hugs in person.

We also were able to send a few pictures that can be passed onto our birth mom with a letter. To be honest, that letter is hard to write. How do you express your love and gratitude in just a few paragraphs? Our prayer is that she will know Christ and that she will find comfort and peace in her difficult decision as she makes an adoption plan for her sons. For her choice of sacrifice, may she be blessed. And may our boys always know of her love and devotion to them.

Dear Sweet Peas,

We just think these two bears are cute and cuddly and we hope you enjoy hugging them until we can come and give you lots of love in person. You two are all we talk about these days. We are longing for the moment we meet.

Love, Mom

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

We have a court date !!!

Just got off the phone with our case worker. We have a court date !!!! Wow !!!! I was trying not to get my hopes up about a possible court date in January (my motto in life is prepare for the worst and hope and pray for the best).

Our court date is January 15, 2010 !!! Did you catch that 10 days from now. Now back to the preparing for the worst, most families do NOT pass court the first time, so we may not pass court and if that happens, another court date is scheduled. 2 things need to fall into place for court to go smoothly - first the birth mom needs to show up (and our birth mom is traveling from the southern region) and the MOWA needs to write their letter of recommendation. So we will specifically pray that those things happen.

But for now....we are rejoicing in the adoption still moving in the right direction. Praise God for His hand our our situation !!!!

Please pray with us that our case passes court the first time.

Dear Sweet Peas,

My heart just leaps with joy when I look at your pictures and think about you. It is hard to stay focused on our tasks here at home. I am praying that all the details go smoothly for our court date. We are getting closer to having you within arms reach.

Love, Mom

Sunday, January 3, 2010


We have been looking at name books trying to come up with "american" names to go with the Ethiopian names that the boys have (not sharing what those are yet...we have to pass court before those details come out online).

There were lots of names that we liked but I am not sure if the boys "look" like those names to me. It seems kind of odd to pick a name after you see a picture. Since we didn't know if we were going for boys or girls or one or was all up in the air. I wonder if anyone one else has had the same problem? When we talk about the boys, we refer to them with their given names. When we pray for them, we use those names. I have started to pray that God would really lead and guide us as we decide on names for the boys. I feel like there is a lot to a name and we want to make a good decision. Our plan is to keep their given names as their middle names.

So for now...they are still my sweet peas.

Dear Sweet Peas,

We are praying that God really guides us as we decide on American names that help you fit into our family. This week we put your picture in a frame and put it up in the house. We put the pictures up in the girls rooms too and we greet you each time we walk in the room.

Love, Mom