Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Football Season is Upon Us!

Ahhh... football season is upon us, and although it keeps us super busy going to 3 games a week, we wouldn't trade it for the world. Here are a few pics of our big boys and their little Sis.

One of my favorite pictures of the team!
My BIG boy on Meet the Team Night.  Isn't he a cutie?

Miss Faith enjoying the game!  She loves the cheerleaders.

P-U Brother -- You are stinky!

Umm.. Is it time to go home yet? I'm missing the Backyardigans
I love my guys.  They are such good boys and big brothers.  We can't wait to bring E home to our household of football, baseball, dirtbikes and mud!  But once she gets here, I'm sure there will be lots of tea parties, picnics and PINK.  I'm pretty sure the BOYS won't mind one bit! 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

What's Next?

It's been two weeks since our referral and it still feels surreal. I look at Es face a million times a day and it feels like I've known her forever! Baby Faith squeals and kisses her picture every time she sees it. The boys are really excited to meet their little sister too. We are still in awe to how God works and answers prayers (I'm working on another post about that).

We had a very extensive conference call with Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. They did an awesome job of helping us decipher Es medical records, her growth charts and other information received. They were impressed with all the information we received and the 32 pictures we received with her referral. They said that was the most pictures they had ever received with a referral! We will follow up with them when she arrives home (and with any additional medicals and photos we receive).

So what's next? Right now, they are working on getting her second medicals run. These tests are required to be run and approved before our agency can submit us to court. The hang up right now is that a reactive agent that is required for one of the tests is out of stock. It is expected to take 4 to 8 weeks to come in!!! I'm told this happens all of the time but it still has my heart in a knot right now. In the meantime, they are going to try to get the rest of the tests started. We did hear that they tried to get some of her bloodwork done last week, but they were unable to find a vein. Poor baby!! So, they are going to try again next week and if that doesn't work, they will try a different lab.

So right now, "her lack of vein" isn't really holding things up since we are waiting for the reactive agent for the other test. After all of her medicals are done and approved by us, our agency can submit our info for a court date. This will take several more weeks until we get a court date. Then, we will travel for court which means we will get to meet our precious angel! After court we will return home and await our embassy appointment.

Time seems to be standing still and waiting is STILL hard, but we knew it would be. We were and ARE STILL praying to have her home by the end of the year, but realistically, it will most likely be in the January to March time frame. But I know God has this under control so we just have to trust in Him and His timing right now. Not having her home by December 31 means we will miss out on the adoption tax credit, but we have to know that there's a plan in that also.

Truthfully, I have poured over blogs looking at timelines of those who have gone before us trying to figure out what our scenario might look like, but it's really out of our hands, so I need to stop trying to 'figure it out.'.

Things you can help pray with us would be:
  • For protection of little Es heart and mind as she goes through some of the coming transitions from the orphanage to the care home, and the big scary needles that might have her frightened.
  • For the reactive agent to come back in stock SOON or NOW...
  • For her next attempt of giving blood to be a success so that her other medicals can get started and she doesn't have to go through multiple jabs.
  • For her health during the next few months -- pray that she can remain healthy!
  • For our airfare to be reasonable.... Depending when we go, airfare can be almost double...especially around the holidays.
  • To have her home before 2012! The tax credit would help us pay off our adoption loan and help pay for our second trip over!
  • For our 3 kids at home.. That they adjust well and that their hearts and minds are at ease during our travels.
So that's about it for now. We are hoping to get some new pictures sometime in October so we can see how she is growing. My mind is crazy right now with questions and to-do lists....but it's a happy crazy.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

My big birthday is this weekend (I’ll be 40.. but shhhssh… don’t tell anyone) and my hubby has asked me over and over what I wanted for my birthday since this is a special one (yeah, it’s special alright – I will officially be “over-the-hill”). My reply for the last 3 months has been the same – I want a referral! I want to know the face of our daughter! That’s all I want, selfish or not….a referral! Thankfully, I received an early birthday present (thank you Jesus).

But, it made me think …how simple, yet wonderful, my life has become.

When I was younger (like in my 20’s :) ) I swore, and probably vowed to my friends at some point, that when I turned 40 we would all be celebrating with a lavish, crazy vacation somewhere – like maybe Vegas or a tropical paradise. We were going to save money, spare no expense, live-it-up, etc.

You know what, I’ve been to Vegas a couple of times and I’ve been to several tropical paradises and it was fun and all, but the only wonderful, crazy and humbling trip I’m interested in taking in the near future, is one to meet our daughter (and believe me, it's not going to be a 'vacation' or a paradise!). And, God’s been pretty good at making me save money and spare no expense. . . to go and get His daughter and bring her home.

I feel pretty good right now and am looking forward to being a mommy of 4 …over-the-hill or not! Honestly, I can’t imagine doing anything else or being anyone else than who I am now. (and it only took 40 years and lots of mistakes along the way to figure that out). I’m certainly not perfect, but I strive every day to live the life God has laid out before me and seek Him to show me the next step.

As far as extravagant trips . . . I think the next extravagant trip our family will probably be taking will be to Disney World!  And you know what . . . I’m perfectly content and OK with that.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I have waited so long to type those words!! REFERRAL DAY!!! 

All I can say is He did it!   No, God’s not our personal Genie, but HE has come through in a big way here at the Baxter home. We have been praying for a referral by September 11th, and HE DID IT. Why September 11th you ask? September 11th is the Ethiopian New Year, and Faithlynn’s Dedication date at church. We really wanted to celebrate both of these events knowing the face of our Baby E while surrounded by friends and family, even though it's such a somber day in America. 

Just when Brad and I were at one of our weariest moments, God showed up to remind us who is in control! (There is so much depth behind this story, but I will save that for another post!)

We received our REFERRAL for Baby E at 2:51 p.m. on Friday, September 9, 2011. We will never forget it! 

The call when a little something like this:

I was upstairs rocking and resting with Faithlynn dreaming about our sweet little E and losing hope that we'd have a referral anytime soon…Brad was outside getting things set up for her Dedication after-party having his own heart-to-heart with God. . . My cell phone rings and startles me from a peaceful rest.  It was my mom to go over some Dedication party details. After speaking with her for a few minutes, my call-waiting beeps. I thought it was one of our boys calling to say that football practice was cancelled. I hit ‘answer’ on my phone, and then looked at the number . . . AREA CODE 828

Surprisingly, I didn’t get too excited, because this couldn’t be THE CALL. Referrals were at a standstill!  I answered and our Case Manager said hello.. and there was an odd silence on the phone. She said, I want to tell you about a little girl. . .

Time literally stopped… I don’t exactly remember how I made it out of a rocking recliner, down 2 flights of stairs and outside to find Brad, all while holding a sleeping baby and a cell phone, but I took one look at Brad, he looked at me as I pointed frantically to the phone (still while holding a sleeping baby), and we both lost it.  God heard us.  He really heard us, our cries, our weariness!  It was totally surreal, and we will both never forget it.  Brad later told me he asked for a miracle at 2:45 pm that day… the call came at 2:51 pm.

Our Case Manager told us about a sweet little girl who is 14 months old who needs a forever family. She thought perhaps she might be ‘too old’ for us and said we didn’t need to look at her information, if we wanted to wait for a younger child. Are you kidding me?? God hand-picked this little girl for us… I can’t imagine saying no.

Here’s what we can share publically -- A little girl – 14 months old – sweetest – face – ever!  Biggest eyes and longest eyelashes ever! She is 7 months older than Faith. We can’t post pictures of her until after we would pass court, but I have plenty of them, and can show you in person and let me warn you… she will melt your heart!

We are still in awe and time still seems to be standing still. All I can say is that the wait has been hard, but it has also prepared our hearts for the next journey of waiting again…for paperwork…for court…for travel and for the embassy appointment. We were told to protect our hearts because sometimes referrals fall through, children become sick, adoptions stop, etc., but it is so hard. We are trying to look at this like a pregnancy – it’s hard to wait and things are uncertain, but the reward is so worth it in the end!

I will post later about the events leading up to our referral and about our first delay (post-referral). Please continue to keep us and Baby E in your prayers. We need to get her home quickly… she needs a forever family now!

Celebrating and praising God in a big way!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


I didn't do it.. HONEST!

While we are waiting, I thought I'd update you on what's going in Faith's world.  She is growing bigger by the minute and doing things very quickly.  At 6 months old (almost 7 months), she is crawling, sitting and starting to pull herself up to stand!  After she is standing, she doesn't take any steps yet, but I'm sure she will soon! 

She weighs about 16 pounds; Is about 28 inches tall

Has 3 teeth (2 bottom and 1 top) -- so precious!
Is beginning to patty-cake and wave bye-bye

Loves Cats and tries to make a meow sound

Loves other babies – kisses the mirror when she sees herself in it (she's a baby!)
Is a VERY BUSY baby and beginning to get into everything

Doesn’t like baby food very much – prefers to eat what we are eating

Adores her brothers and loves when they chase her – she crawls as fast as she can to get away

We call her “bulldozer” because she’ll crawl right overtop of you and down the other side.

Loves bath time

Plays peek-a-boo and tries to look under my hands when I cover my face

Loves the Backyardigians

She is a very happy baby who strives to get everyone's attention (oh boy!!).  We can't wait for her to meet her sissy... hopefully soon! 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Waiting . . .

Still no news on the referral end of our adoption. There haven’t been any new referrals for weeks. It's a little frustrating, but we are handling it fairly well.  I think the toughest part is planning and not knowing when we will get a referral and when we might travel, etc.  I know it's part of the process and part of our being obedient, but that's been one of the toughest things for us. (not to mention that there's a little girl on the other side of the world waiting for a family!!!)
There is hope though! Three representatives from our Agency are currently over in Ethiopia right now helping to sort out some of the problems and complete paperwork for children who have not yet been referred. (which could include our "E").  The main delay, it seems, is a shift in focus on reviews and the placement of children from the orphanages that have recently closed. They are trying to determine the status of these children, which has resulted in the delay of new referrals. Please keep these children in your prayers -- they've been ripped out of one orphanage and put into another.  Some have already been referred to families -- so it has to be a confusing situation over there. 

We typically get emails every Thursday from our Case Manager. I wait, very patiently, for those emails to come every week just for a glimmer of hope that things are picking up. I know I could call our Case Manager or email her for a status update, but I really want her to concentrate on moving things along for those who are in process, not tend to a whiny parent to is tired of waiting :)   I do wonder, however, if they know how I hang on every word of those updates? Our last email said that one representative remains encouraged and hopeful that things will get moving again “soon.” Yay!.. but ummm, what exactly does ‘soon’ mean?  Webster describes it as “within a short period after this or that time, event, etc.; before long; within the near future.” (Great, that doesn’t really help me).

I guess to us, soon means in God’s timing. I must admit, it’s getting harder and harder to wait and I feel like I’m getting older and older (ha ha)… but I know that after everything is final and when we look back, we will see God’s perfect timing in our referral, our trips, and finally bringing E home. It’s hard for us to understand now, but it will all make perfect sense some day.

For those of you who know me, you know I am not very good at plucking the perfect scripture out of the Bible – but yet I always seem to find them. God always has a way of bringing them to me. It’s no coincidence that I was looking at something else (in reference to 9/11) and found this scripture. It spoke volumes of encouragement to me.

We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.  1 Corinthians 13:12-13 ( Msg)
Then, that same day, as I drove in my car, another revelation through a song (God likes to speak to me in the car – usually through a song!).

John Waller – Yes

Ask, it shall be given to you
Seek, and you will find
Knock and the door will open
and that's a promise

He said He'll finish the work He started in you
Your needs He will supply
He'll never leave you
nor forsake you
and that's a promise

It's a guarantee
it's a beautiful thing
He delights to keep His word

God says YES to His promises
Take Him at His word
Yea, you can believe it
God says YES
to a child-like faith
when we claim
everything He died to give
God says YES

 I'll keep you all posted IF we hear anything this week.