Thursday, January 27, 2011

One Year Ago

One year ago, we went for our USCIS fingerprints and had been on the “official” wait list for 5 whole days. We were so excited and things were moving so fast. We fully expected to have our little one from Ethiopia by Christmas of 2010.
Fast forward one year. Wow. If you would have told us last year that in January of 2011 we’d be awaiting the arrival of a baby (not from Ethiopia but from my tummy), I would have thought you were crazy! Never, Never, Never in a million years would I have thought this was possible. Never would I have thought we’d be getting a nursery ready for 2 babies (one from my tummy and one from Ethiopia). If you would have told me 5 years ago that we would have 4 children, I would have laughed at you! You know when you go for a job interview and they ask you what your goals are and where you think you’ll be in 5 years…??? Well, I never saw any of this coming. I would have said you had the wrong chick! Ha!

I can’t explain the changes that have taken place in our life over the last 5 years, and specifically, the last 18 months. Well, yes I can. It’s all God’s doing. A good friend always tells me that if you can logically explain things, then it wasn’t a God thing. So many things in our life today are God things. Honestly, it’s pretty neat to look at our life over the last 5 years and see how God has stepped in and taken over the reins (mostly because we got out of His way and allowed it). I honestly do not know where we’d be today if our path didn’t drastically change a few years ago. (well, yes I do.. let’s just say, broken home, broken marriage, broken-hearted kids and lots of heartache… which is why we are so passionate about marriages too.. but that’s a different blog and different story)

Everything still seems surreal. Waiting has been hard, especially knowing that we have at least another 6 months until we can get a referral for Baby E. Waiting for Baby Faith has been hard too. Oddly hard. I don’t remember being so anxious and impatient when our boys were born, but I think we were in a different spot. We were busy.. trying to make a name and life for ourselves and just getting by. Things are different now. Priorities are different; we are older and wiser; we don’t really care what people think anymore and we are ready to slow down and embrace this little girl. One good thing is with Baby Faith, I know where she is (in my tummy), I can feel her move, see her move and know she is nearby. I can talk to her and she can hear me and she’s part of my daily world, and, I have a ‘general’ idea when she will arrive.

I can’t imagine how hard it is going to be after we know Baby E’s face, but have to wait to meet her and then wait to bring her home. She won’t be a part (physically) of our everyday world. We won’t be able to tell what she’s doing, how she’s doing, won’t be able to talk to her and she won’t be able to hear us. It’s going to be very hard, and I empathize with everyone out there currently waiting for your child(ren) to come home!

So again, as much as I’d like to have it all figured out and have a perfect plan and explanation for everything that’s coming in our future, I revert back to 2 verses in Proverbs (since I love Proverbs):

In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9 (NIV)

Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)

Can’t argue with that!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Showers of Love for Baby Faith

This past weekend my family and friends hosted a baby shower for Baby Faith.  What a fun time.  A Tea Party theme complete with china tea cups, tiny sandwiches and tea pot shaped cup cakes and cake.  Soooo cute.  We feel so blessed to have so many friends and family who have come around us during our adoption and during our surprise pregnancy.  All of them are just as excited as we are for these 2 little girls to come into our family.  Our home is quickly becoming a flury of pink and I'm lovin' it! 

The nursery is pretty much ready to go.. and so is crib #2, but we've decided to hold off putting it up just yet.  I fear it will make me miss E more that I already do.  But, we already have her bedding, blankets and such ready for her arrival later this year.  I wonder if her family celebrated or will celebrate her birth like we did Faith's?   It makes me sad to think about it.  Such a happy time for so many families, but sometimes so much devestation and hopelessness for others.  At this point, I'm not even certain E has been born yet, but one thing is for sure.. we will rejoice and celebrate once we see her precious little face.  

Here are some pictures of the shower.  Enjoy! 
Tea Pot Cup Cakes, Tea Pot Cookies and Tea Pot Cake.  So Cute!

Cute arrangement made by my Aunt Janis and a few of our "Expectations" photos

The belly picture in the center has a necklace on my tummy that says "Expecting From Ethiopia"  We couldn't get photos taken without including Baby E!

Cute little teapot favors with tea bags.

Ready to Pop!

My Mother-In-Law and my Mom

Tea Party ready to go

Time to find a spot for everything!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Merry Christmas - Ethiopian Style

January 7th is Christmas Day in Ethiopia. (They still follow the ancient Julian calendar, so Ethiopians celebrate Christmas on January 7).  Here are some interesting facts that I found about a traditional Ethiopian Christmas. We are trying to learn as much as we can about E's culture.

• The Ethiopian Christmas known as Ganna

• The day before Ganna, people fast all day.

• The next morning at dawn, everyone dresses in white. Most Ethiopians wear a traditional shamma, a thin, white cotton wrap with brightly colored stripes across the ends.

• People receive candles as they enter the church. After lighting the candles everyone walks around the church three times, then stands throughout the mass, which may last up to three hours.

• Food served at Christmas usually includes injera, a sourdough pancake like bread. Injera serves as both plate and fork. Doro wat, a spicy chicken stew might be the main meal. A piece of the injera is used to scoop up the wat.

• Twelve days after Ganna, on January 19, Ethiopians begin the three-day celebration called Timkat, which commemorates the baptism of Christ.

• Ganna and Timkat are not occasions for giving gifts in Ethiopia. If a child receives any gift at all, it is usually a small gift of clothing. Religious observances, feasting, and games are the focus of the season.

መልካም ገና - Melkam Gena
(Merry Christmas in Amharic)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Coffee Party

We had our first coffee party on New Year’s Eve Day, and it was quite fun! We had over 30 people stop by to sample some of our JustLove Coffee. We brewed over 8 pots of coffee (that’s 96 cups of coffee)! Needless to say, the energy level was very high in our house that day and I’m sure most who came didn’t have a problem staying up until the ball dropped at Midnight!

Thanks to all who stopped by to have a taste of Ethiopia! It was great to have some coffee, cookies and conversation!   Feel free to click our link on the sidebar to order some JustLove Coffee of your own and help us with our travel expenses! 

11 Months Waiting

December 22nd marked 11 months waiting for us.  Wow a lot has happened in 11 months. 

Webster's defines "Waiting" as:  to stay in place in expectation of; to remain inactive . . .
I must be doing something else then. I don’t feel like I’m inactive or in a place of expectation. I feel like every day that goes by is one less day of waiting instead of one more day of waiting… if that makes sense. We’ve also been crazy busy with pregnancy stuff, constant appointments and preparing for Baby Faith, but I have not one day felt inactive in our adoption process.  We have never felt like Baby E is not going to come.  Baby E is still very much a part of our family. The boys talk about her constantly. We refer to Faith and E as “the girls” and it’s so funny to hear us say that after it just been us and ‘the boys’ for so many years. The girls’ room is quickly becoming a paradise of pink, posies, butterflies and dainty little things. We continue to collect things for E, as we are purchasing things for Faith. Oh what a happy day when these 2 girls finally meet… and how wonderful that God chose them to be sisters. We are beyond thrilled!  I recently saw this quote, and I think I’m going to get it for their room as I think this has such a unique meaning for these 2 little girls:
Sisters are different flowers from the same garden.
I must admit, however, that in a world of instant gratification, I’d love to snap my fingers and have both of the girls here right now. But, Faith’s not quite ready to enter the world yet, and E is not yet ready for our family yet. I fully believe that God’s already chosen her for our family, but have no idea if she's already born, still in her mommy's tummy, or what her circumstance is.  But, trusting God is the only thing I can do.  I think the transition from having 2 children to 4 will be good to happen in stages as well, and God is fully aware of that. Plus, as a mommy who now has 2 pretty self-sufficient boys, going back to the infant stage and sleepless nights is going to be a slight challenge. God knew that as well and He has it all perfectly under control. (I hope I do when we have these 2 little girls)

So, as we wait, and have many things to keep us busy, the reality is, it’s still not our timing so we will see what God has in the plan for 2011. We are desperately hoping to have E home by next Christmas, but we know all the twists and turns international adoption can take, so we will continue to wait and hope. Once Faith arrives (in less than 4 weeks, hopefully!!), we will be back in adoption-mode full force getting our home study amended and re-doing most of our dossier documents. Hopefully, we should be back on the list and receive our referral in August or September.

In the meantime, I’ll lean on the one scripture that keeps me focused:

He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.

Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted;

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 40:29-31