Wow! It seems our lives have been rather full since my last post. I have much about which to write today. First, an adoption update: We have passed our two-month waiting point. At times, the days seem to pass so slowly. Sometimes, though, they go by in a rush (and one has no time to update one's blog!) The Ethiopian adoption community is currently in the midst of the national court closures. From early August through early October, no court procedings will take place. This means that families that have received referrals (been matched up with a particular child/children) or who do receive referrals in the next couple months will have their travel delayed somewhat until official court decisions are processed. There are several families working with our agency that are in this difficult circumstance, forced to "practice patience" (as I define waiting for my kids). Our agency has communicated to us that referrals will continue to be sought during the court closure. In fact, there were referrals for three families this week. This appears to be resulting in a significant accumulation of children at the transition home in Ethiopia (where referred children are kept until adoptive families can come for them). Concerns about space (a lease for a new, larger building is currently needed) and childrens' health (a number of severe health issues have been reported among the children there -- even the sad death of one baby girl ... please lift up the grieving family who had accepted her referral) are being addressed. Prayers for these needs are encouraged!
Secondly, we celebrated Ethan's fifth birthday last week! On his actual birthday, we strapped him (and the rest of us) into the van for most of the day -- making the long drive to my parents' home in Pennsylvania. Before I describe our fun time there, let me take a few moments to brag on my special five-year-old!
Ethan continues to be affectionate and fun-loving, enjoying wrestling, outdoor play, reading books, and snuggling. He has also shown increased skill in some physical activities like swimming (underwater is his preferred method) and baseball (he can give the ball a pretty good knock off the tee and also has quite an arm)! He's not overly eager to learn his letters and numbers, but he has a keen memory which has enabled him to learn several memory verses in the last year. He is a hard worker and loves to help with jobs around the house and yard. Perhaps one of his most special characteristics is his emotional sensitivity. This is revealed by perceptive questions about people and situations, insightfulness-- and perseverence -- in prayer, and thoughtful, emotionally-appropriate gestures toward individuals. What a great kid!
And speaking of great, I must also mention my husband to whom I have been married for ten years as of Friday! Mike continues to be my best friend. I greatly respect his integrity, his ability to connect with different people, his willingness to grapple with tough questions, his committment to his own physical discipline (what a strong runner he has become!), and his courage and perseverence in the face of opportunities or challenges or uncertainties. I have the incredible gift of never having to question his love for me or for our children. I love his goofy humor and his strong ethics. Oh, and did I mention how handsome he is! One of the things we did to observe our anniversary was mattress-shopping. I know, very romantic. Hey, it's that time!
I will close this long post with some pictures from our time in Pennsylvania. It included trips to the Crayola Museum and Knoebels family amusement park in addition to lots of grandparent time.
The excitement is contagious!
(I think Ethan and the crayon man's facial expressions are eerily similar, don't you?)
Princess Abby happily creates a masterpiece.
Ethan gets comfortable on "The Whip."
Abby takes the driving responsibilities very seriously.
Ethan and Pappy did some workin' and some talkin'.