Tuesday, May 10, 2011

praying for 2 little girls

one year ago today my life changed forever.

may 10, 2010, was like any other day. it was a monday, the day after mother's day, and i was working, just like i do every day.

just before 3:00 that afternoon i received an email from a local adoption agency. it was an email with pictures of waiting children (children who have special needs or children who are older) who needed families.

there were several children's pictures in that email. all of them beautiful. all of them in desperate need of a family.

however, one picture changed everything for brent and me.

i don't know what it was about that little girl. i don't know why she caught my attention. i had seen so many pictures of waiting children. of course i wanted so badly for each of them to have a family, but it wasn't until i saw her picture that i thought about having one of those children as my child.

sometimes i think about her, and in my mind i refer to her as "the face that launched a thousand ships" because her picture was what launched brent and me into the active process of adoption.

we spent a month of last year thinking that she could be ours. we knew there were no guarantees, but we couldn't pursue her adoption without preparing ourselves to be her parents. and we couldn't prepare ourselves to be her parents without loving her. oh, and we did love her. we still do love her.

my heart ached so bad when we found out she wouldn't be ours. i was so confused! i didn't understand why God would have done this to us. why would He give us love in our hearts for a child that was never going to be our child? why would He put us through that pain? what had we done to deserve this? weren't we just trying to follow His leading?

i would have never admitted this at the time, but i was so angry. it didn't make any sense to me. for several months i would burst into tears at random times because something about her came to my mind. i thought i had it all figured out and knew what God wanted for us, and i hated that i was wrong.

it took me a long, long time to come to this realization:

she wasn't meant to be our little girl. she was meant to change our lives.

because of her, we actively began the adoption process.

because of her, we opened our hearts to a waiting child.

because of her, we began to learn what trusting in God really means.

because of her, we started to realize what's really important in life.

because of her, we are getting to adopt the one who was meant to be our little girl.

we will always love that little girl. no, she won't be our daughter. and yes, we LOVE our little miss ethiopia and will always love her and Lord willing she will be our daughter very soon. but, i don't think we are supposed to ever stop loving that little girl. God used that little girl to change our lives!

so yes, we love two little girls. both are precious. both needed families. both changed our lives.

so tonight, this is my prayer for those precious girls:

Lord, we know you have the most wonderful plans for our lives. Lord, we know that your plans don't always make sense to us, and sometimes our hearts hurt because we don't understand. but Lord, we thank you for always taking care of us and for wanting only the best for us. thank you, Lord, for that little girl. thank you for creating her in your image. thank you for what she has taught us. thank you for giving her a family. bless her, Lord, and bless her family. give them more love than they could have ever imagined.

and Lord, please watch over our sweet baby. please give her good rest and everything she needs.

and Lord, please bring our baby home soon.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

his unspeakable gift...

"thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift." - 2 corinthians 9:15

i told you that verse would be on this blog again.

the fact is, i already planned to use it again. i knew exactly when and exactly how. i just couldn't post it in blog world...until now!

brent and i are thrilled (beyond thrilled really...more like ecstatic, bouncing off the walls crazy happy) to announce that we have accepted the referral of the most beautiful little girl we have ever laid eyes on! we could not be more excited about her, and we can't wait to get her home!

now, since i know you are all dying to ask, i will go ahead and answer some frequently asked questions:

wait, how did this happen so quickly? i thought it could be another year (or more).
we had originally thought we would get on the waiting list and wait for a referral, and that wait could have been at least a year. but, our little one was a waiting child - she was waiting for a family, and we CHOSE her! actually, God chose her for us, but He showed this precious face to us, and we knew we had to bring her home.

how and when did you find out about her and choose her?
you may want the short version of this story, but that ain't happening. so, get comfy.

many, many months ago, right after we had started this process, i blogged about meeting an adoptive mom, kristi, at chick-fil-a one afternoon - very randomly. kristi and her husband adopted a little girl from ethiopia and posted a video about it on you tube. seeing this video had been a real encouragement to us, and opened our eyes to the whole ethiopian adoption world. then in january, brent and i ran into kristi and her entire family (and that is a crew!) waiting to get their fingerprints for their second adoption. we just happened to both show up at the same time to get fingerprinted. while we waited for our names to be called, we got to visit with the family and talk all about their upcoming adoption and kristi's recent trip to ethiopia with her sister kelly, who runs ordinary hero...

talking to kristi and hearing about what they had done on the trip got me thinking about ordinary hero and about all the kids they saw while in ethiopia. so i emailed kelly and got the password to view pictures of all the kids who were waiting for families. i saw a certain little girl...and i had to know more about her. but, the next thing i new, her status was "adopted". i couldn't be too sad because i knew it meant there was one less orphan, but i could never get her off my mind.

fast forward a little bit, and i read this blog post (read the part at the very end)...

so she was still waiting. waiting. waiting. and God was telling me she was waiting for us.

here was the only problem...brent didn't know about any of this. whoops. i figured it was kinda important for he and i to be on the same page about decisions like this.

so, we talked and prayed and talked and prayed some more. it was not the easiest decision we have ever made. our hearts were with her, but satan was using our heads to scare us. i mean, we had been down the waiting child road before, and we were only left with broken hearts. and in order to adopt this precious baby, we had to change agencies. and then what if we did all the work to change agencies and then someone else chose her before we could?

and in the middle of all this talking and praying (and the whirlwind going through our minds), brent's sweet grandfather passed away. let me just say this, making tough decisions is not made any easier by being sleep deprived and emotional. i'm just sayin.

then on sunday, march 20, brent passes me a note during our morning worship service. it read: "i think we should do this." i thought i was going to jump out of my seat and start screaming with joy. but it was right in the middle of the sermon. (yes, dad, we were passing notes during your sermon. sorry.)

so, we did it. on wednesday, march 30, we officially accepted the referral of "baby m" from ethiopia. the huge weight that had been on my head and heart just disappeared. (unfortunately the huge weight that has been on my hips is still there.)

on that very same day, we find out that kristi's new son and murray and jaime's little girl have been living at the VERY SAME PLACE as our little one! (btw, murray and jaime are friends of friends - and now our friends - who actually used to live with my former boss when they first moved to our area!) and on the very next day, jaime offered to take a care package for us when she and murray traveled to ethiopia for their court date! so our sweet baby m has now seen pictures of us, and we have seen pictures of her looking at pictures of us (i think she was underwhelmed).

so, when do you get her?
well, we really can't say with much certainty. we do know we have (as of yesterday) been submitted to court. that means we are just waiting to get "on the docket" for a specific date. we will go for our court date (that is when we meet her for the first time) and then again for our embassy visit (that is when we bring her home forever!). but, we will keep you posted when we know more about the time frame.

so where is her picture?
well, we can't post her picture anywhere, but we will be MORE than happy to show you a picture if you see us! we're kind of annoying about it.

but until you see us, you can see a picture of her car seat.

we have been so blown away by God's awesome power, by the love of family and friends, and by this adorable little girl! we can't wait to meet her.

what an awesome, mighty God we serve.