Friday, May 29, 2009

When Life Sends You Rain Clouds...

Sad Day

I woke up sad this morning.

Lots of reasons, probably, could be sourcing the sadness. It's rainy and cold here in Maine. I've been stuck in the house the last couple days doing laundry, vacuuming, scrubbing, etc. --not exactly inspiring.

We've been reassessing and recalculating and readjusting our plans for the transition from Maine to Quebec. It looks like we will relocate the family in about 3 weeks. That means we have such a short time to enjoy the wonderfully special things about this place. And I do not know exactly when we will be back, or with what portion of the family. We will probably choose to return for some time to navigate some final adoption processes after traveling to pick up the boys, but it is hard to see now what that might look like. As travel gets pushed back farther, it makes it more likely that Ethan will be starting school relatively soon after our return. That, of course, makes it harder to just pack up the family for a return trip to Maine!

Another sad fact is that I know of one one successful Ethiopian adoption court appearance (out of twenty-one) for our agency in the last two weeks. Failure after failure is discouraging. Children must wonder when their promised families will actually come. Families continue to yearn for precious little ones. New referrals are slowed. Agencies must complete additional work and face increasing costs as timelines expand. All of this certainly contributes to my sense of sadness today.

Finally, I feel the loss of time with my boys today. If we had passed court on the first try, we would be going to get them in just a few days. The opportunity to really learn "who" they are would be so near. Instead, it seems so far away today.

I've been reading a book about helping children through various traumatic events, and the author, Karen Dockrey, has challenged her readers to avoid the trap of trying to make everything OK -- a trap to which Christian can be highly susceptible. She asks, "Why do so many...feel that pain is contrary to faith? The Psalms are full of pain. Lamentations details the suffering of the Israelites. Hosea's agony over his wife's unfaithfulness went on for years, and God compared His love to Hosea's. The deeply spiritual Paul fought a physical ailment that tormented him and made him weak."

My sadness is not without hope. I try to fill my mind with promises from Scripture. However, I do not quote these glibly. When Jesus said, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world," what did he really expect us to do? Dockrey has suggested that "to take heart means to keep your eyes on Jesus, not to dance through the demonstrate confidence that we will one day overcome, not that everything is instantly OK." Amen.

Sad with hope. That's me today. Quiet, comforting hugs and expressions of love ('cause I know I'm blessed with an incredible support system) accepted here!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Being Home

The great American poet, Maya Angelou, said, "I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself." During this time of transition, our family has the opportunity to really learn to make this desire a reality. We left our beautiful former home almost one month ago. I haven't shared too much about our new homes, and some of you have expressed some confusion about where we are living now.

We have a house-sitting arrangement for a home in a short distance outside of town. This home is huge and wonderful. It has more bathrooms than we have family members right now! We love it, and we are very grateful to have this home available for us during this time. Here's a little peek:

We are also working to set up home in Canada. Most of our furniture, clothes, and other belongings are there. We are excited to be in this space and create a homey environment for our growing family. Right now, finding the right space for this or that is a challenge. Also, because the house has been mostly uninhabited for several years, there are sure to be some unexpected issues. Last week, we discovered a leaky pipe behind the dishwasher we were installing. This rendered the upstairs bathroom unusable until a plumber was able to come and install a new pipe. Here is a look at our future permanent home:

Today, as we wait for word of how several situations outside of our control will shake down, we have a sense of peace that however things work out, whatever our circumstances demand of us, wherever life takes us, we are blessed! And there is much more of God's goodness to experience!

Proverbs 3 describes our contentment in this transition time. It says, "Don't lose your grip on Love and Loyalty. Tie them around your neck; carve their initials on your heart. . . Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure everything out on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track" (MSG).

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Wait...wait...wait...Hurry, hurry, hurry!

International adoption can be a funny thing. There is the hard work of gathering and properly completing paperwork, and then months and months of waiting. The excitement of a referral yields to the anxious waiting for the official declaration of family relations. After all the waiting that brought us to our court day today, we have been told that we need to hurry and complete another document in order for our case to be processed. Until this newly required (as of yesterday) document is completed, our case is closed. So tomorrow, we will scurry and sign and seal and deliver . . . and then we will wait again!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


We received word today that the government department in charge of Ethiopian adoptions has informed our agency that they are requiring a new form of a particular document needed for court. This was made effective immediately. Seven families that were scheduled for court yesterday night were not passed because of this change. Most of these families have waited much longer than ours for their adoption placement. How heart-breaking for them! As for us, it is almost certain that our court case will need to be postponed for several weeks in order to re-order our paperwork. We feel terribly saddened by this news, as we had hoped to be the official parents of two more boys tomorrow. We feel anxious about all the details that must be reworked because of this. Still, we are reminded of our call to "be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer" (Romans 12:12).

We ask that you continue to pray for our adoption process, our family, and God's work on behalf of the world's orphans.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

One Week from Tomorrow Night...

marks the time when a judge in Ethiopia will make the call for whether our family officially expands to include two precious boys or whether we continue to wait for a legal declaration. While past statistics have suggested that approximately one third of court cases are not successful on their first attempt, Ethiopian adoption cases have experienced a particularly difficult week so far. The government and court systems are tightening regulations to assure that the system remains free of corruption. In the last few days, our agency has had only one of seven cases pass court on the first try. With that said, I am requesting your prayers.

Here are some specific details about which you can be in prayer:
  • that the judge in our case would be able to be present in court at the assigned time
  • that our agency would have all the necessary documents in place and correctly completed
  • that MOW@, the government agency in charge of ET adoptions, would write a necessary recommendation letter in time for our representation in court

  • that the MOW@ letter would properly address the issues in our case
  • that any necessary witnesses in our case would be present and provide clear testimony

  • that the judge would look favorably on our case's presentation and documentation

Thank you so much for your spiritual support as we hope to make these boys orphans no more!

Ethan showing his love for the boys
The family enjoying some video sent to us from the Koby family -- What a treasure!
Abby showing the prayer chain we've been using to count down the days to court.
The next little while will certainly be pretty exciting around here!!! Stay tuned for more!!!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Moving, Updates, and the Real Story on the Dinosaurs

Let me give you some highlights from our last (crazy) week:
  • packed most all of our belongings into a moving truck Wednesday
  • moved ourselves and a few essentials to our beautiful "transitional" home in Winterport
  • Mike drove the moving truck to Quebec on Thursday
  • closed the deal on our old house on Friday morning
  • had a farewell party for me at the YMCA where I have worked
  • recieved an update from our adoption agency on A__ and D_____.

Both boys have gained about 5 pounds in the last month. Their hair has been growing, too. A__ is described as "so kind, obedient, and easy-going." They say he loves running and playing soccer, and he is excited to meet his family. D___ is making a great adjustment in the transition home. When he arrived, he was considered "quiet and reserved," but now he is described as playful and happy.

Ethan and Abby have obviously had a lot to process in the last few days. It was hard for them to have Daddy away for a few days, but they were troopers. Yesterday, as they were coloring and I was doing schoolwork, I overheard this conversation:

E: Do you know why the dinosaurs died?

A: Why?

E: Because they lived a L--O--N--G time ago . . . before Mom and Dad got married.

A: OOoohh!