Thursday, August 30, 2012

Special Gifts From A Special Man

As you know, lately I have been feeling pain from losses in adoption. I have been feeling removed from the fact that there will be a precious child/ren joining our family in a couple of years.
I want to feel connected, but it is difficult.
Today, I got home from work and saw this:

A gift bag that says BABY.
I opened the gift with Colin by my side, and found these:

A pair of beautiful TOMS shoes! For each pair of Toms bought, one pair is given to a child in Africa!
These specific shoes have very special meaning to me. I can't reveal it until we are on the waiting list!
Hiding underneath my Toms, was this:

A sweet clothing set of a brown dress with pink polka dots, pink leggings, and a white onesy with a bow on it!
Yes, I realize this reveals a bit about our parameters, but I just HAD to share my excitement with you!
Colin knew I needed something to grasp the reality that we ARE going to be parents. I am so thankful for a thoughtful husband. He knows me. He gets me. I am quite blessed.
He asked if it was okay if he did this from time to time--surprised me with a small 'baby shower gift' for our child/ren. Um, yes please!
Looking at this dress makes me imagine little baby toes, little baby fingers, big brown eyes, and curly hair with a bow in it. I can almost feel her.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Love For Giraffes

I love giraffes. Perhaps it is for their peculiar shapes and lines. Perhaps it is for their purplish-black tongues--God made them this color to protect against sunburn! Perhaps it is for their skin pattern. Did you know that their skin pattern varies depending on which region of Africa they are from?
Months ago, Colin started talking about putting together a room for our child/ren. While part of my heart jumped for joy at the thought of planning a room, part of my heart was honest. It is too soon.
If we started a room, I think the emptiness would sadden me. So, we will wait.
But, while we wait, I will dream. Of sweet giraffes.

Giraffe bowls:


Friday, August 24, 2012

Fundraising Milestone

When we first said, "It is time to adopt," we had worry in our hearts about many things, but mostly about the costs in adoption. We did not have the money saved up. We feared having to take out a gigantic loan. We did not know if we would feel comfortable "fundraising" for our adoption.
Today, one year later, we have been blessed by family, friends, and strangers through two garage sales, a brat fry, donations, our Etsy shop, jewelry sales and basket auctions at Mama Z's Bakery and Java Hut, and a lot of prayer and encouragement.
We are praising God today and thanking all of you for helping us to reach $10,000.
This is 25% of our adoption expenses!
Wow. Thank you.
We are amazed at what happens when hands reach out to help. When prayers go up on our behalf.
We are learning to not fear, but to rely on God and His promises.
All glory be to God!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

One Year 'It Is Time' Anniversary

One year ago today, August 21st, Colin said, "It is time."

It was time.
Time to adopt from Ethiopia.
Time to let go and let God.
Time to trust in God.
Time to allow ourselves to be filled with a beautiful hope.

And while some of these truths have slipped my mind as stress and uncertainty have seeped in, I am remembering them today. I will sew them into my heart to remember them always.

We are falling in love with our child/ren that we have not met yet. Falling in love with God's plan for us. Falling in love with Ethiopia. And falling more in love with each other.

We are finishing up our dossier documents. And aching to be on the waitlist. Aching for our referral. Aching for our baby/ies.

Will you pray for our hearts? Will you pray for our child/ren's hearts?

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
~James 1:27

Monday, August 20, 2012

Parallels of Adoption and Pregnancy

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way.
~2 Thessalonians 3:16

My sweet friend Jen has sensed my lack of peace in our adoption process. She sent me some very encouraging words relating to a post I wrote last week about the losses I will experience throughout our adoption. One of these losses is a physical pregnancy.

She wrote that in reading my blog, she saw many parallels with our adoption and pregnancy. She has allowed me to share some of her beautiful words with you:

There may not be morning sickness, but instead, a queasy feeling before each homestudy visit. Aches and pains are replaced by doubts and setbacks. Heartburn in pregnancy can be treated, but how can you ease the grief that there are so many orphans in need of a home? You aren't worrying that your baby is physically developing properly in the womb - you have a deep concern that they are being loved where they are right now. And your recovery period "after the birth" will include jet lag!

Thank you, Jen, for being a comforting friend. You live overseas, but I feel hugs through your words.

 It is God who arms me with strength
    and keeps my way secure.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he causes me to stand on the heights.
~2 Samuel 22:33-34

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Spicy Berbere Lentil Stew

Last night, Colin made me an Ethiopian stew with injera. It was wonderfully delicious. The stew is flavorful and a semi-thick consistency, so we ate it over the injera (an Ethiopian spongy bread). We found the recipe off of The original recipe called for turkey meatballs, but we left them out because it did not sound Ethiopian. It was a fantastic vegetarian meal. I may have to post a recipe for injera and berbere in the future. I can see our child/ren loving this. Enjoy!

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups onion
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon ginger powder
  • 1 1/2-2 tablespoons berbere, to taste
  • 2 cups split red lentils
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes or 1 can diced tomatoes 
  • 3 ounces red wine
  • Salt, to taste
  1. Sauté the onions in the olive oil, until the onions are translucent
  2. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for another minute
  3. Add the Berbere and sauté for a few minutes more, stirring occasionally to prevent burning
  4. The onions should start to caramelize
  5. Mix in the chopped tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes
  6. Add the lentils, salt to taste, red wine, vegetable stock and bring to a boil
  7. Turn heat to simmer and cook uncovered for an hour
Serves: 8

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Infertility Alongside Adoption

Infertility is a shadow.

I move forward, skipping barefoot down a one-way dirt road. I thought I could escape.

God planted a dream of adoption in us. It is engrained in our souls. It makes us giddy. It fills us with profound hope. It gives us direction, a gorgeous vision.

But infertility lingers in the corner. A sorrow. A longing for something I may never experience.

I witness others beaming with the blessings of pregnancy. I hear the joy. They are glistening. And others are for them, too.

I am feeling pain from losses.

I will not grow my babies in my womb.
I will not see their first smile.
I will not have pictures from their first breaths, weeks, months, or perhaps several years.
I may not hear their first words.
They may not easily cling to me for comfort.

And, I will experience with them their losses of birthfamily, culture, and environment.

And, it hurts my bones.

Adoption is beautiful.
But, it comes with losses.
All over.

And, I am feeling them.
Katie Davis wrote the following in Kisses from Katie:
I see the sadness, but I also see the redemption. I have learned along my journey that if I really want to follow Jesus, I will go to the hard places. Being a Christ follower means being acquainted with sorrow. We must know sorrow to be able to fully appreciate joy. Joy costs pain, but the pain is worth it. After all, the murder had to take place before the resurrection.
I’ll be honest: The hard places can seem unbearable. It’s dark and it’s scary, and even though I know God said He will never leave or forsake me, sometimes it’s so dark that I just can’t see Him. But then the most incredible thing happens: God takes me by the hand and walks me straight out of the hard place and into the beauty on the other side. He whispers to me to be thankful, that even this will be for His good.

It takes a while sometimes, coming out of the dark place. Sometimes God and I come out into a desert and he has to carry me through that too. Sometimes I slip a lot on the way out and He has to keep coming back to get me. Always, on the other side is something beautiful, because He has used the hard place to increase my sense of urgency and to align my desires with His. I realize that it was there that He was closest to me, even in the times when I didn’t see Him. I realize that the hard places are good because it is there that I gained more wisdom, and though with wisdom comes sorrow, on the other side of sorrow is joy. And a funny thing happens when I realize this: I want to go to the hard place again. Again and again and again.

So we go. This is where our family is today and where I hope to stay--loving, because He first loved us. Going into the hard places, entering into the sorrow because He entered for us first and because by His grace, redemption and beauty are on the other side.

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
~Romans 5:3-5

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Colin and I have been since sponsoring Dominic and Eyouel through Compassion International. We have learned so much about our boys' interests, family, culture, and environment. We have learned so much about God's provisions. Our purpose. How to spread love.

Colin said to me in early July, "There is a girl. An older girl in Africa."

We searched online. We searched the Compassion booths at Lifest. And searched online again. We kept coming back to this beautiful girl....with a broken expression. She had been waiting for a sponsor for almost 300 days. Why? Why did nobody choose to care for her? 

On July 18th, we knew God chose us to be the ones to tell her, "YOU matter. YOU are loved."

Meet Mugwaneza Janviere.

Mugwaneza lives in Rwanda. She was born May 13, 2003. She is 9!

She lives with her mother, who is sometimes employed as a farmer. She has two siblings. She is responsible for carrying water and gathering firewood.

Jumping rope is Mugwaneza's favorite activity!

She is in primary school and regularly attends church activities.

Oh, my heart aches. I want to be with her and love on her. Clothe her and spoil her with girlish treasures. I have faith that one day I may get to meet our sponsored children and be given the opportunity to do just that.

Compassion's goal is to stop the cycle of poverty and focus on individual children. A Compassion child development center focuses on all aspects of healthy development--eating a nutritious meal, practicing the right way to brush teeth, getting help with homework, playing soccer, learning a vocational skill, and memorizing Bible verses. The child development centers are safe and nurturing havens, where children have the freedom to learn, grow, play, and dream about a future free from poverty.

Will you join me in praying for Dominic, Eyouel, and Mugwaneza?

If you have any questions about sponsoring a child, please ask me. It is a beautiful thing that will change you. Change your focus. Help you to grow in sharing your love.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Fourth and LAST Meeting With Our Homestudy Agency

On Monday, August 6th, we had our fourth and very last meeting with our homestudy agency! it August already?!?

Wow, it feels good. Since contracting with AGCI the last week in May, we had what seemed like an endless pile of education, meetings, and paperwork, paperwork, paperwork.

Our last homestudy visit went well. We met with our social worker in her office. She had some follow-up questions to detail our homestudy, and that was it!

So, now our education and meetings are all complete!

Last week, Colin and I got a great start on all of our dossier documents. We completed several of them, including getting them notarized. Colin is amazing with organizing what we need to do and how it needs to be done. I am very thankful for him! Usually I am the organizer between us, but with him leading us in this adoption, I have felt less stress and anxiety over details and time frames.

Next step: completing our dossier!

P.S. We are very glad we are waiting to 'reveal' to you our parameters until we are on the waiting list. Why? Because they will not be what we thought they were going to be last week. Oh my! Someday we will have it figured out. Until then, a lot of prayer and discussion.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


With Ethiopian adoption through AGCI (All God's Children International), we as the adoptive parents will set our parameters for our adoption.

AGCI has three waiting lists: girl, boy, and siblings. When we finish our dossier, AGCI approves it, and it is sent off to Ethiopia, we will be put on a waiting list of our choosing. Some families choose just one category, but you can choose two or three and see which one gets you your referral first!

The parameters Colin and I will be setting:
one child or siblings (and how many)
a boy, girl, or which combination
 age range of our child/ren 
health conditions

The process of choosing parameters is both exciting and challenging. We have changed our minds several times! Also, AGCI has several requirements for adoptive parents to be able to adopt multiple children or multiple sexes (financial qualifications, size of home, bedrooms in home, etc.).

If a couple has a child or children already, they must be a certain distance apart age-wise from the new child/ren. And adopting out of birth order is generally frowned upon (example, adopting a child older than your other child/ren). We do not have children, so this does not affect our parameters.

For both AGCI and our homestudy agency, Colin and I have had to fill out two separate documents stating health conditions that we are open to considering for our referral. Let me tell you, this was difficult for me! Part of me wanted to be open to all health conditions, while part of me struggled with thinking about costs of surgeries, medications, or therapies. At one point, we started it and I had to tell Colin I could not continue with it that evening. It almost made me sick choosing the health parameters. These, we will not be sharing. Down the road, our child/ren's health will be his/hers/theirs to choose whether or not to share with others.

Once we got through these difficult documents, we discussed scenarios of how many children, what age/s, and what sex/es. This was fun, but also difficult! It seemed every month our minds changed.

We think we have our parameters set!

What are our parameters?!?

You, our friends, will have to wait to find out!

We are choosing to share our parameters when we are put on the waiting list. I know, we are leaving y'all in suspense! We are over-the-top excited and bubbling over to share our happy news.

But, you will have to wait several weeks/months. Hopefully definitely by the end of November (we have six months total to complete our homestudy and dossier).

Prayerfully sooner!

Any guesses?