Wednesday, February 27, 2013

February Numbers!

Today we received our February waitlist numbers from AGCI!
Our new numbers are:
For a girl 0-12 months old
For siblings--a girl 0-12 months old and a birthsister 0-5 years old
We moved 1 spot down on the girls list and 1 spot down on the siblings list!
Overall, we have moved 11 spots down on the girls list and 6 spots down on the siblings list.
Blessed are all who fear the Lord,
who walk in obedience to him.
You will eat the fruit of your labor;
blessings and prosperity will be yours.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
around your table.
Yes, this will be the blessing
for the man who fears the Lord.
Psalm 128:1-4
I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Psalm 57:9-10

Monday, February 25, 2013

letters from Dominic

Last week we received a letter from our Dominic in Kenya. This is what we learned about our boy:
My name means I was named after my uncle.
I am the 1st child in my family.
I am 117 centimeters tall.
The color of my hair is black.
The color of my eyes is white and grey.
One thing I do really well is painting.
The thing I enjoy doing is looking after cattle.
When I grow up I want to be a policeman.
Message to my sponsor: Receive lovely greetings from your sponsored child from Kenya, Dominic. He says he is doing well and his family too are doing well. Dominic says he loves singing praises to God and he loves you very much. Dominic says in Kenya it currently is very hot and there is no rain. He says he loves looking after cattle and he also loves drawing. God bless you.
Our Dominic wants to be a policeman! My Colin is a policeman. :)
Dominic drew us some fun pictures:
He is too darling!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


We have been in the 'waiting' stage of our adoption for almost four months. This is exciting! However, there has been increasing time frames for the wait that seem to escalate each month. I wanted to take a moment to explain some changes to you.
I understand I may have some readers who are open to adoption, and I hope I can be an advocate for international adoption. There are certainly some stressful periods, but there is redemption!
I believe the main reason there has been slowdown in our adoption process is due to AGCI using only ethical practices in ensuring an orphan is in fact an orphan. Unfortunately, there are corrupt agencies "buying" children from their parents, lying to their parents, etc. We are so fortunate to have chosen an agency that is based on ethical principles.
During the last week in January, AGCI hosted four Ethiopian delegates including federal and regional MOWA officials and a Parliament member. The purpose was to spend time with the agency to see how it is running, to visit with adoptive families, and for re-licensing.
The Ethiopia goverment has been concerned with several agencies and their practices. They are aware of unethical and even illegal practices and are working to eliminate this. They agree there are too many agencies processing adoptions in the country. There are over 70 US agencies completing adoptions in Ethiopia! But only 21 are licensed!
All licensed agencies operating in Ethiopia are in the process of renewing their license. I have heard that there have been several adoption agencies that have already closed over the last several weeks due to unethical or illegal practices.
AGCI has been told to operate their agency per usual. This seems to mean that the delegates have not found anything faulty with our agency and implies their license will be renewed. Praise God!
Because of extensive wait times for families, AGCI has made a big change in their Ethiopia program. Beginning March 1st, AGCI will only be accepting families into their Ethiopia program who are open and eligible to adopting a child who is a minimum of 3 years of age and older. This does NOT affect us or our age parameters. I think this is a very good thing, and I HOPE this means they will have an abundance of babies, older children, and hopefully siblings in Hannah's Hope very soon.
Colin and I have FULL trust and confidence in AGCI. They have assurred us that the Ethiopia program is alive and active. Although an unknown future is difficult to process, we have faith that the process will pick back up soon. We know God has His hands all over Ethiopia and is working for the good of all of His children. Please continue to pray for us, for orphans, and for multitudes of families to be united with their little ones very soon!

Monday, February 18, 2013

birthday twenty-eight

I was an almost-Valentine baby. My mom tells me I was just about born in the car! I am her second of two children, and she wanted to wait until the. last. minute. to go to the hospital. She did, and she barely made it.
I turned 28 years old on February 13th!
I celebrated with my best friend, Colin. He served me my choice of breakfast: chocolate chip pancakes and crispy bacon with Ethiopian coffee.
Later, we did wine and cheese tasting and Colin took me to dinner at an Italian restaurant.
We came home and watched Trade of Innocents--a movie about human trafficking that takes place in Cambodia. Not exactly your typical birthday movie, but I am not your typical girl, I suppose. I certainly recommend this movie to you.
A special gift was in my mailbox that day. A little bit ago, I won a giveaway on Give1Save1. A beautiful necklace made by Eager Hands. The necklace says WAITING with an Africa on it.

It was a sweet gift on my first birthday officially waiting. I thought about our little girl/s. It was a blessed gift from God to receive it on my birthday, when I am missing our children so hard.
God. Is. Good.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

february letters to africa

Today, I wrote our February letters to Dominic, Eyouel, and Mugwaneza. Since it could take up to two months for our children in Africa to receive our letters, I have to think two months ahead! In two months, it will be April, which is the month of Easter!
I printed off three Easter-themed letter templates from With Elephant Grace. I just found this terrific resource for creative letter writing and fun craft projects.
On the Easter template, I shared with our children what Easter is, and what my favorite Easter bible verse is. I told them what I am praying for and what I would like to ask them to pray for.
For our boys, I sent Thomas the train stickers. And for our girl, a Matryoshka Doll Set, which I printed off Canon Creative Park for free. There are four smaller dolls that fit into a larger doll. The thought that our little Mugwaneza has quite possibly never owned a doll made me want to create something special for her! Her very own paper dolls. 

What have you created for your children or sponsored children lately?

letters from Mugwaneza

Last week, we received a letter from our Mugwaneza in Rwanda!
She is still young, so her letters are written by a helper. It is always interesting to look at the letters, because they are written in an African language before they are translated. Here is what is written:
Dear Jessica,
Your daughter Mugwaneza Janviere is greeting you in the name of Jesus Christ. She is so happy to write and inform that they are all fine. It's dry season here. She helps parent at different household activities. She got 60% marks. She will move on to grade 4. Janviere has 2 brothers and 2 sisters. She goes to Sunday school and sings in the choir. She loves and always prays for you. Janviere wishes you merry x-mas and a happy new year. God bless you!
It is so sweet that it says 'your daughter'. We think of Dominic, Eyouel, and Mugwaneza as family, and I pray they know that we are an extended part of their family. We would gladly take any one of them into our home and love on them so hard! We do our best to love on them across the ocean, encourage them, make them smile, and share God's love with them.
If you are interested in learning more about child sponsorship, please visit Compassion International. There are currently over 3,000 children ages 3-22 all over the world waiting to be sponsored through Compassion, online alone.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

hope that shines

African Harrier Hawk
God gave me a thing for hawks.
Since the start of our Ethiopian adoption process, God gives me hawks. It is always while Colin or I am driving.
We/I will be listening to music and we will notice them perched up high in trees along the road. Sometimes they will be flying, but typically, they are in trees. And I always get the overwhelming sensation they were sent by God for me.
Usually, there will be at least two hawks on my drive, but this last Friday? 17. 17!
Perhaps it has been about a year ago I started seeing these hawks, maybe more. Colin and I have always wondered what they represent--why God placed them into our lives. Certainly before our adoption process, I never noticed one hawk, not one! I noticed plenty of crows, a few bald eagles, and several other types of birds.
Why hawks? And why now?
I found a neat description of a hawk that hit me as powerful:
Protecting and guiding, I am the messenger of hope that shines
My keen sense of vision is a beacon in time
Overseeing everything you dreamt about, believed with your heart, or once thought
I am the beauty within us all
I am the hawk
And so I stare at the beauty of the hawk and thank God for His message to me, of hope that shines.
What do you think the hawks represent?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

our Eyouel

This week we received a new picture of our sponsored child, Eyouel!
He is so handsome and seems to have grown a bit since the picture we received a year ago when we began sponsoring him. Eyouel Samuel lives in Ethiopia and is 5, but turning 6 on both my birthday and his, February 13th!
I so badly would love to give him a hug and a soccer ball (soccer is his favorite sport). Unfortunately, neither can be mailed through Compassion--only paper products. We gifted him a small money donation for his birthday, so hopefully the Compassion staff pick out something wonderful that will put a BIG smile on his little cheeks. 

Monday, February 4, 2013


She is in my heart
But she is not yet in my arms
She is growing--
In this heart of mine, bursting
As others' arms fill up with baby love
And mine are left, empty
I cradle her in my heart
She is in my home--
Her clothes, tiny shoes, a soft blanket
Her country--
Aromas of coffee, tea, berbere
Aromas of LOVE
I sit
No cries to tend to
No bottles to feed
No curls to feel
No cheeks to kiss
My heart swells
with HOPE
with FAITH
with LOVE
I may not physically meet her for far more days than I want to consider
But my heart has met thoughts have met her
In Ethiopia
I am not daughterless.
She is here.
She is not growing under my heart, but in it.
She is here.
She is everywhere.
She is here.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Three Months Dreaming

We have been on the waitlist to adopt for 3 months yesterday!
3 months waiting...3 months could be the age of our baby girl when she is referred to us. She will be between 6 weeks and 12 months old at the time of referral.
It scares me to think that as long as this three months has felt for me, our baby girl could potentially be motherless for three months, or plenty more. Especially if we are referred a sibling set. We don't know what her/their story will be, but if thought about too much, it is painful for my heart to know of the losses that will be experienced for us, for the birthparents, and for our girl/ies.
I pray that God continues to equip us to carry the losses and to give Him glory through redemption.
We are 3 months closer to the start of our family!

Friday, February 1, 2013

amos story

Amos Story is a song written by Aaron Ivey. Aaron wrote this beautiful song when he and his wife Jamie were waiting to bring home two of their children, Amos and Story, from Haiti.
The lyrics are so touching to me....I'll find a way to get your here, if it takes my fleeting breath... Close your eyes and dream of a better day with me.
My heart is in Ethiopia, and this song is where I am at.

Another photograph to wrestle in my head
Another sleepless night on concrete featherbed
These thoughts of you like bullets to my soul
We've got to find a way to get you home
I'll find a way to get you here
If it takes my fleeting breath
Another sunrise hits the ground
And it's a dark lonely sight
Lightyears away I hope you know
There is somebody searching
For the way to get you here
I will get you here

Throw the clocks away and run out to the street
We'll fly to distant clouds where it's just you and me
A day will come when all of this is gone
You've got to find a way to believe
Close your eyes and dream of a better day with me
As angels hold you tight, may you sleep in peace tonight
So dream, dream, dream my child
Hear the whisperings of hope
It's a song that you can sing, as you sleep in peace tonight