Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Answers and Room Four More

We have entered into a new chapter of our journey. God has been stretching our hearts, increasing our faith and equipping us to step out with supernatural courage. 

 "Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty." (Zechariah 4:6)

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9)

About a month ago, we came across 4 children from Ghana, Africa.  God began impressing on our hearts to pursue these children.  With many questions, praying and ALOT of processing, we stepped out in obedience.

"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." (Isaiah 30:21)

So in faith and complete humility, we "walked in it."  We sent our petition to our Adoption Agency and they have agreed to let us move forward and adopt these children with the exception of minor details that need to be done. 

The journey is just beginning.....
 we still have ALOT ahead of us....
and it won't be smooth sailing...

BUT...we know that we have stepped out in obedience to God and that He WILL equip us every step of the way.

Out of complete honesty, I hesitated to share all of this on my blog. It is my pride that doesn't want to share the details until we get to the end of the story. But it just wouldn't be the same. 

We covet your prayers. We want to embrace community to join us on this journey to bringing these children home.  Most of all, we want you to witness God's amazing power in all of this because ultimately this is ALL about Him and not about us.

It is a humbling place to be.  Although we have always asked God to open our home and family to welcome as many orphans as He would entrust us with, we know we can't do this without Him.  We are just a couple of people that are trying to live a life of obedience to our Heavenly Father.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Waiting for answers

These past several days have been filled with waiting for answers.
Thankfully, we HAVE received some answers, but these answers have required us to wait for MORE answers....

the wait just becomes waiting for more waiting. 

 It's interesting how often times in life we think or hope that all of our answers are right around the corner. It can be disappointing at times and yet sometimes the waiting for more waiting can produce more courage and perseverance. I am dying to know the answer - is it yes or no? Should we turn right, left or continue to go straight?

Will we find out next week or will next week's response require us to act on something so we can wait another week longer. 

I want to know NOW!

That's how I really feel...
and yet, honestly.... I do feel at peace that every second, minute, day of waiting is all worth it.
 None of it is wasted.  We act and react when we need to and we sit and be still when there is nothing to do but....

wait. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Obedience

Sometimes God asks us to do things that absolutely make no sense to us. Just like He asked Noah to build an ark in the middle of the desert or calling Abraham at 75 years old to lead His people to the promise land or even asking Joshua to lead the Israelities to march around the walls of Jericho 7 times.
I have never been able to imagine being in their place....and yet here I am now. 

God has redirected our adoption journey from Ethiopia to Ghana. It's not been as easy as it sounds.. .and yet.. we are at peace because we know that we are just being obedient to His calling. 

There are too many details waiting to unfold... alot of waiting and praying.

God has required much more from us... stepping out, finding our voice and really stretching our faith.
To be honest, I was comfortable with where I was at.  I was okay with waiting for the "placement phone call."  Occasionally I would get ancy and want some sort of a timeline, but for the most part I was content.
In the midst of my contentment, I was also sensing that God was asking us to step out and act out in faith.
There were alot of questions and yet we had to discipline ourselves to listen.

As excited as we are, our hearts are sad as we move out of the Ethiopia program.  Over the past several years, we have invested so much into this country and praying for every child there that is longing to belong to a family. Even though we have changed programs, our hearts will always be there.  Since we don't know the ending, we can't question God and His ways.  Our time and money invested towards Ethiopia wasn't wasted, it was part of our journey.

Our boys have been slightly confused and refuse to stop praying for Ethiopia. They have just added Ghana to their prayers.  Our hearts and prayers for Africa have been stretched from East to West.

Some encouragement God has given me within this past month:

Jeremiah 55: 8,9,11
" As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth;
it will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."

Saturday, November 12, 2011

9 months, labor pains and still waiting


It's been 9 months since we sent our dossier to Ethiopia and in a couple months we will be approaching our 2 year mark since we began our adoption process. As much as I have tried to draw parallels between this process and my previous pregnancies... it has been nothing like it.  At least throughout pregnancy, you get to visit your OB on a consistent basis and have your belly measured, hear the heartbeat, and get a couple ultrasounds to confirm that your baby is healthy and well. But with adoption,  there is no tangible reassurance and no promising timeline of when your children will come home.

I've had conversations with God asking him if He'd be willing to share any of His secrets with me..
"So... can you tell me the gender/ages of our children? and by the way, how are they doing...? "
I experience these conversations with God as a deeper way of connecting to our children and letting my faith and trust grow deeper in Him. 

I have literally felt my heart expanding by the day and by the month since we began our process. About a month ago I experienced significant movement.... labor pains.... there was ALOT of kicking... as if God was urging me to pray more specifically for our children and pray more often.  Now my heart feels like it's about to explode.

As we continue to wait and near our 2 year mark, I continue to run to God for affirmation and He never fails to respond with words of encouragement.

Tonight He used both of my boys to remind me through Scripture of His promises.

Ethan gave me Jeremiah 33:2,3

“This is what the LORD says, he who made the earth, the LORD who formed it and established it—the LORD is his name: 3 ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’

Isaac sang to me Matthew 6: 34

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. "






Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A moment to breath

Our house is FINALLY quiet!

I can sit here in my comfy chair and actually hear myself think. I can take deep breaths without someone needing my attention, asking me for a snack or even asking me random questions like "what causes tornadoes?"  As much as I LOVE being needed and viewed as a walking encylopedia, it is NICE to be alone.

Maybe this is why I often feel like I have so many unfinished thoughts and not much to say.
I have started so many blog entries and never completed them.
They are ALL incomplete thoughts.

I don't even know what to say in this entry except that I can't stop thinking about our Ethiopian children and I feel a sense of restlessness. 

Waiting is hard! 

But... it is necessary. 

Even though our daily routine is full of so much life and so many blessings, I find myself silently telling these children whom I have never met- " I wish you were here." 
It feels good to express that to myself because I know that God hears me.

I think I've accepted that it's okay that I have unfinished thoughts and not much to say because that gives Him more room to complete my thoughts and fill in those blanks.  I realize that I just need to take more moments to breath and during those breaths, let His peace refuel and refresh me. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Guaranteed

A few days ago, my parents were visiting from out of town. We were all sitting in the car driving towards home when my dad suddenly broke the silence by asking us if we were "guaranteed" our children in Ethiopia.
It nearly caught Sol and I by surprise - then again, my dad is just as random with conversation as I am.  So I followed right along.  There was not a strike of doubt in my response but rather a confidence that although we don't know how much longer it will be, we do have faith that God knows what He is doing. Out of good intentions, I am sure he was hoping for a time frame  as well as making sure that our efforts of waiting aren't hopeless. Perhaps he is also having a hard time waiting for his grandchildren to come home!

I must admit that later that day, doubts started creeping in and unfortunately I let them dominate the peace in my heart.

There is not much that is  "guaranteed" with adoption: our hope for  6-8 months waiting for our referral has changed to 10-14 months and then again we could be waiting longer. We can't even guarantee that our children will immediately attach to us and love us back the way we love them.  To say the least, it's been a tremendous step of faith for us to walk this journey believing and holding on to His calling in our lives: caring for the orphans and loving and praying for these 2 children that we have never met. 

This afternoon I piled my sick and feverish boys in the car and rushed to the post office. We arrived 15 minutes before closing to send in our home study update to the USCIS. 
After debating for a minute or two whether I should send it priority mail or express mail, I opted to pay the $18 and send it express mail....
Why on earth would I pay $18 for a few sheets of paper to be mailed?
Because I wanted to guarantee that my PRECIOUS mail would arrive quickly and maybe even be given a little extra care.( I think the lady behind the counter thought I was a bit overly concerned about my piece of my mail - I kept confirming the exact time/day that it would arrive.)
As I handed her my mail, I felt the same rush of emotions that overwhelmed me when we sent out our completed dossier.  I said a quick prayer and let it go.

As I was driving home, I began to reflect on why I got so emotional over mailing our home study update... I realized that once again I felt out of control. What if our piece of mail got lost? What if there was a major storm and our mail dropped in a huge puddle of water,,, - sigh...
pretty pathetic, huh?

But isn't that life?  We can't guarantee that everything will work out the way we want it to all the time. We can hope and pray and yet sometimes it feels like God uses these insecure moments to remind us of who He is and what He does guarantee us.

So to remind myself, I wrote some verses down:

Deuteronomy 7:9

"Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments."

Isaiah 54:10
"Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you."

Psalm 89:28 (God's covenant with David)

"I will maintain my love to him forever, and my covenant with him will never fail."

Psalm 105:8

"He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations,"

Genesis 28:15 (God's promise to Abraham)

"I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

Hebrews 10:23

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful"

Hebrews 10:36

"You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised."

Psalm 145:13

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.

Ephesians 1:13-15

"And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. "



Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Peace

Life has been so busy these days that a few moments of solitude are hard to come by.  Between moving to a new home, homeschooling and trying to keep up with our daily routine... I long for a moment to sit, reflect and just be still.  Unfortunately I haven't been able to process how the changes in Ethiopia has affected our adoption process.  Not only has our wait time increased to 10-14 months but our recent home study update approved us for two children up to 4 years old.

When we moved into our new house, Ethan's (our 6 year old) expectations were shot down when he realized that his siblings from Ethiopia hadn't arrived yet. His mind was set on making scrambled eggs for their first breakfast in our home and he had built a lego airplane for each of them. It is sweet for us to watch God preparing his heart for his siblings. 

With two high energy boys and a husband who loves to play indoor soccer and nerf gun tag with them - my life may not seem outwardly peaceful. but truthfully my heart is at peace. It's shocking to me since I wasn't expecting to feel like this.  I like to be in control - after all, who wouldn't want to know who their children are and when they will come home?  I have moments throughout my day where I feel a sudden heaviness to pray for them. There are also moments when I realize we are short of 2 children in our family and our family is not complete without them.  But His peace has been carrying me through.  I want to wait well and wait joyfully knowing and trusting that He knows what He's doing. 

To remember our children in Ethiopia, my dearest friend came over and we cooked an Ethiopian meal for Sol and the boys. Our menu consisted of Doro wat, Injera and Sambousek. The aroma from all the spices filled our home - it was a special evening as we thought and dreamt of what it will be like when our children come home and join us. 



Doro wat  is made from chicken and sometimes hard-boiled eggs; it is the most popular traditional food in Ethiopia, often eaten as part of a group who share a communal bowl and basket of injera.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Showers of Blessings and celebrating a new season

I prayed hard that it wouldn't rain today.  Unfortunately, it's pouring rain as I speak.
Today is our BIG day!  Our final moving day. Saying good-bye to this cozy, little home that has been filled with 9 years of beautiful memories.
Alot of laughter, tears and many friends/family from every season of these past 9 years have entered this home. It's been a blessing. A tremendous blessing. 

Sol and I never had the intentions of moving from this place.
We started this adoption journey with no expectations of a larger home. We were ready for 2 more children in our 1100 sq. feet/ 2 bedroom home.  
So we were surprised when our parents gave us this incredible opportunity to upgrade to a brand new home as part of their investment not just for themselves but for us! They also had their 2 beautiful Ethiopian grandchildren that we haven't even met in their thoughts. 
We are so grateful. SO GRATEFUL!

So as I hear the rain this morning, I am reminded of his shower of blessings on all of us!  Although we haven't done anything to deserve His blessings, He never ceases to amaze me with how much He loves us.  
I am also SO grateful for our loving and generous parents that never hold back from blessing us and so many others.  Their hearts of generosity are amazing.  

As we enter a new season at this new home, I'm grateful to celebrate it with this rain. His showers of blessings on us.   

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Encouragement for today

It's hard not to wonder and just trust God for what this journey will look like from here on out.  It's so easy to worry and become fearful that maybe our expectations and dreams won't turn out the way we hoped it would.
Within the past 24 hours, my thoughts and prayers have been nothing more than questions and cries out to God.  All the "what ifs, are you sure? whys ..."

He has given me comfort and encouragement:

My dear friend, Alison sent me a text yesterday to encourage me to stay strong, fight for our children and pray for God's favor. What a precious reminder!
It gave me the strength to keep going and not lose hope. Thank you Alison!

This morning He spoke to me through my devotional " Jesus Calling."

" Continue on this path with Me, enjoying My presence even in adversity.
I am always before you, as well as alongside you. See me beckoning to you; Come! Follow Me. The One who goes ahead of you, opening up the way, is the same One who stays close and never lets go of your hand. I am not subject to limitations of time or space. I am everywhere at every time, ceaselessly working on your behalf. That is why your best efforts are trusting Me and living close to Me."

And He gave me some verses to meditate on today:

Psalm 47:2-7b

"Trust in the Lord and do good;
Dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Delight yourself in the Lord
and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
Trust in Him and He will do this;
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;"

Friday, March 4, 2011

Heavy hearted but hopeful

It's been challenging these past couple of weeks to sit down and quiet my heart and mind.
Life has been busy...
    homeschooling, 
           endless loads of laundry
                  piles of dishes and toys everywhere
         to finally packing up this home that we have lived in for 9 years and transitioning in a few weeks to a beautiful new home that my parents have so graciously
provided for us.

As thankful and blessed as I feel....
right now at this moment,
my mind feels chaotic and my heart feels heavy.

We just found out today that according to VOA (Voice of America),

"Ethiopia is cutting back by as much as 90 percent the number of inter-country adoptions it will allow, as part of an effort to clean up a system rife with fraud and corruption....
Ethiopia’s Ministry of Women’s, Children’s and Youth Affairs has issued a directive saying it will process a maximum of five inter-country adoptions a day, effective March 10. Currently, the ministry is processing up to 50 cases a day, about half of them to the United States."

I had to read this article several times for the reality to sink in.  I immediately felt disheartened and angry...   there will be even more orphans added to the current millions already in Ethiopia that may never feel the warmth and love from a mommy and a daddy. I could feel myself panicking and

THEN

I felt everything becoming blurry as though the Lord was refocusing my eyes to see from His perspective. 

Just this week, our mom's small group did our inductive bible study on Ephesians 3:15-21. A few weeks ago, Sol also claimed this scripture for our family and has been reading it to us every Saturday night.   


"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.


Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. "

I initially felt extremely powerless, but after being reminded of this scripture I suddenly realized that His power IS at work even when I can't see it.  I think about the Apostle Paul, writing from prison telling the church in Ephesus: " For this reason, I kneel before the Father..." 
I am also brought to my knees - for this reason... to cry out to the Lord for His mercies to fall down on each and every one of these children. Each one of them matter to Him and He knows each one by name.  I'm so thankful He IS able to do "immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine..." otherwise I would be hopeless.

Please continue to keep us and the many other waiting families in your prayers. We don't know what's ahead or around the corner... but what we do know is that our Faithful and Loving Heavenly Father  DOES know and He is the only One that keeps us hopeful.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Prayer for you

Dear precious ones,

As I was reading Psalm 91 to your brothers tonight, I felt a longing to read it aloud to you also. I know God heard my prayers as I was reading it because He knew that my heart was with the both of you.  I just want you to know that God is with you and that wherever you are, He is watching you and protecting you. 

" He will cover you with his wings,
Under the feather of his wings you will find safety,
He is faithful.
He will keep you safe like a shield or a tower.
You won't have to be afraid of the terrors that come during the night,
You won't have to fear the arrows that come at you during the day.
You won't have to be afraid of the sickness that attacks in the darkness.
You won't have to fear the plague that destroys at noon.
A thousand may fall dead at your side.
Ten thousand may fall near your right hand,
But no harm will come to you.

The Lord is the one who keeps you safe.
So let the Most High God be like a home to you.

The Lord will command his angels to take good care of you. "
Psalm 91:4-11

Friday, February 4, 2011

Hands free and waiting

I confess... the last 2 weeks I have been obsessively checking my email several times a day.  All I wanted was an email from our adoption agency informing us that our dossier authentication was complete. I could feel my level of patience slowly diminishing. In my mind, we were way overdue for our dossier to be complete!
Thankfully this past Monday, I finally received the news that Washington D.C. and the Ethiopian Embassy authenticated our dossier!!  

Our case manager happily informed us that they received our authenticated paperwork and had it all packaged and ready to head across the ocean to Ethiopia.

BUT...

Oklahoma (where our agency is based) was hit with one of the worst snowstorms. Unfortunately our paperwork CAN'T BE DELIVERED... yet.  We are SO close and yet not as close as I'd like to be.  

Depending on their snowstorm, our dossier will probably not make it out to Ethiopia until next week. Although my heart goes out to all the people who are stranded on the streets and unable to make it home in the several feet of snow...
I am also humored by God's interesting timing.
Couldn't our papers have been completed last week before the snowstorm
so they'd be in Ethiopia by now?
I just have to accept that He had it happen this way only because it's on His agenda and not mine.
Don't you just LOVE His timing?
I am confident that God's hand is perfectly arranging every part of this journey.   He has pushed me to stretch my hands out, let go of my timeline/agenda and just sit and wait.

Hands free and waiting.

Waiting for God to do His thing.  

Monday, January 17, 2011

One year later

One year has passed and our papers are still not in Ethiopia. Although I did post last month that our papers arrived, I misread the letter we had received and it was only our orphan petition that had arrived in Addis Ababa. Unfortunately one of our dossier documents had to go through 4 notaries in order to be approved with the Secretary of State. It has been nearly 1.5 months since we completed our Dossier and it still needs to be authenticated in Washington D.C. before heading to Ethiopia.  I was slightly annoyed and yet trusting that God has his hand on EVERYTHING and HIS timing is PERFECT! 
Exactly one year ago from today, Sol and I signed the dotted line and gave our hearts away to our children in Ethiopia.  Honestly, I can't stop thinking about them... Why? Because they're our children that God has given us!
When people ask me how many children we have, I tell them we have 2 boys and 2 more on the way. Their usual reaction is to look straight at my belly to see where the babies are! 


This is where they are!


So, even though my belly may not be physically showing, my heart has tremendously grown more in love with these two children since the day we signed on that dotted line.

If I could, I would send this short little letter to them so they would know how much they are loved:

Dear precious ones,

We can't stop thinking about you! 
We hope and pray every day that 
God surrounds you with His angels to guard and protect you. 
Even though we haven't met you,
you should know that you are dearly loved. 
Although we wish you could come home now, 
we trust that God has His perfect timing and will bring us together. 

Eh wed eh SHAH lehu
We love you SOOO MUCH! 

Love your Enat and Abbot
  





Friday, January 14, 2011

Our Journey



After nearly a year into our adoption process and even answering all the "whys" in our application forms, written autobiographies, home studies and questions from friends and family, I finally decided to sit down to answer and process through this question for myself. 

"Why are we adopting and Why Ethiopia?"

Honestly, it wasn't statistics, an adoption conference, orphan Sunday or even a vision. It was really a small conviction that started and grew at an early age in both of our hearts from Seattle, Washington all the way to Tehran, Iran.  Seriously, it's amazing when I think of the Lord planting seeds in both of our hearts at such a young age. Sol grew up with Muslim beliefs while surviving the streets of Tehran while I grew up with Christian beliefs in a sheltered home within Suburban Seattle.

Because Sol grew up with bare minimum and had to learn ways to survive, he understood and felt the pain of children across the world who were in the same place.  At the age of 12, he saw the pictures of children in Ethiopia who were starving and malnourished and had the compassion to one day adopt when he had his own family. 
I love that....
In spite of all the pain Sol had to go through,
I love how the Lord has given my husband the ability to understand and emphathize with the less fortunate and orphaned. 
I grieve for what he didn't have and the brokeness of his childhood and yet I am so grateful because he has humbled me enough to understand a glimpse of the pain that the less fortunate have to go through throughout the rest of the world. The amazing part is that God lovingly rescued Sol with the plan of using him to one day demonstrate His same love to our children in Ethiopia.

I grew up with parents that demonstrated
compassion and generosity in amazing ways.
I call it " Contagious Compassion." 
 After coming back from India in 1998, my heart was broken for the orphans and the poor.  I felt I had to get involved immediately
or else I was going to miss out!
I thought God was calling me "NOW!" 
 Obviously, He had something completely different in mind
 and took me on a long 12 humbling years to get me to where I am at now. 

When Sol and I met in 1999, we both shared our hearts for adoption.  It was a commonality that tied our hearts together.  During our beginning years of marriage, we talked about adoption and how one day we'd adopt as many children as God would give us.  It was always a dream somewhere out there that seemed so incredible but not yet accessible.

Just last year, January 17th, 2010, the Lord finally opened the door for us to fill out our application and begin our adoption process. 

My eyes well up with tears as I sit here and think of where we started to where we are now.  All I can say is
"God, YOU are GRACIOUS and YOU are GOOD!"
As Sol always reminds me, it doesn't matter what we do wrong or what we do right, He will always remain who He is - He is our Gracious and Loving Heavenly Father who loves us unconditionally. We are just His vessels that He pours His love through. 
Our adoption to 2 beautiful Ethiopian children isn't about us,
it's ALL about Him.

So, please don't tell us we are doing something great, it's God that should receive all the glory because He's the one doing something great!