Monday, June 29, 2009


This morning I was reading in my Bible from Ezra. It was telling how Ezra was such a great leader, bringing this huge company of Israelites back to Jerusalem. He recruited ministers, inventoried resources, inspired spiritual activity, and more. So he's planning this months-long, dangerous journey with all these people and this stuff, and--all of a sudden--he starts thinking about how he's been telling people that His God is great and His God protects His people and His God will overcome, etc., etc., etc. And he realizes that he can't ask the king for armed guards to accompany his crew on this journey. He's actually got to put feet to his faith and trust God to keep them all safe from the bandits and hazards of the trip.

As I was reading all of that, I was thinking about our own journey. In particular, I was feeling concerned about the fact that we still did not have flights confirmed for our Ethiopia trip. You see, the dates our agency originally thought we would travel had to be changed due to some delays in post-court paperwork. When those dates changed, we dropped the flights we had placed on hold and tried to get new tickets for the new times. Unfortunately all of the flights out of Ethiopia for several days around our desired departure date were completely booked. We were placed on a waitlist. For several days, there were no cancellations. On Friday, our travel agent suggested that we wait over the weekend and, if the flights were still waitlisted on Monday, we would have to change airlines. The alternative flight schedule did not have the exact same travel times available, and the tickets were priced a couple thousand dollars more.

So, as I'm reading this morning, I'm thinking, "Okay, I know how Ezra felt. He told everyone about God's protection and had to take a tough wilderness trip dependant on it. Now, I've told everyone about God's provision (especially for those concerned about the costs of international adoption) and I need to trust him to provide for our expenses--whether it's getting us on those cheaper flights or helping us to finance the more expensive ones. I know he is able."

Within minutes of business hours opening, I received the email from our travel agent acknowledging the clearing of the waitlist for the flights we desired. Our flights are confirmed, and I will say it again: If finances are the only thing holding you back from considering adoption, God has some amazing things to show you. GO FOR IT!

Saturday, June 27, 2009


The mad rush to get our house Tapper-friendly before bringing home the boys continues. I thought you might appreciate if I shared a peek at some of the changes we've been making.

And here's a collage of my FOUR kids! --Just for fun!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Ethiopia Bound

We received word yesterday that our appointment at the embassy in Ethiopia is confirmed for the second week of July. We have been setting up flight plans, reviewing our agency's "travel packet," collecting orphanage/transition home donations -- all in preparation to finally, actually GO to Ethiopia. We leave in less than two week! There's much to do in these next few days!!!! Guess I better get going...

Monday, June 22, 2009

We are 6!!!

Shortly after 1 pm, after having been driving for over 5 hours (at least three of which we had been staring at my cell phone), we received the call we have been praying for. An agency representative shared the great news that an Ethiopian court had officially declared us to be the parents of the boys referred to us three months ago. We are ecstatic to introduce the newest members of the Tapper family:

Andrew Jeremiah Abu (approximately age 6) and Jadon Desalegne (approximately age 2).

As we settle into our home in Quebec this week, we'll do so with smiles on our faces, knowing that these boys will soon join us! Thank you to all who prayed with us!
Praise God, everybody! Applaud God, all people! His love has taken over our lives; God's faithful ways are eternal. Hallelujah!
Psalm 117:1-2 (MSG)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Court Countdown - SUNDAY - Judge

Since Ethiopia is almost half a day ahead of North American time zones, our case should actually come before the judge while most of us are sleeping tonight. Today, our prayer is simply that the judge who hears our case tonight would be convinced in heart and mind to rule in favor of an official adoption decree.

May God be merciful and bless us. May his face smile with favor on us. May your ways be known throughout the earth, your saving power among people everywhere. May the nations praise you, O God. Yes, may all the nations praise you. Let the whole world sing for joy, because you govern the nations with justice and guide the people of the whole world. May the nations praise you, O god. Yes, may all the nations praise you. Then the earth will yield its harvests, and God, our God, will richly bless us. Yes, God will bless us, and people all over the world will fear him.

Psalm 67 (NLT)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Court Countdown - SATURDAY - Witnesses

Our focus for prayer today is the testimony required before the judge. While I am not certain of the specific requirements of our case, I know that, in most instances, one or more witnesses are required to confirm the identity of the children in question and to describe the situation which led to them being brought to orphan status. We pray that our adoption agency would be effective in their search for the proper witnesses, that these individuals would be eager to cooperate with the judicial process, that they would have safe travel from their village to the courthouse, that they would arrive on time, and that they would be prepared to speak to whatever concerns the judge may have. May it be plainly evident that becoming Tappers is in the best interest of these boys!

The revelation of God is whole and pulls our lives together. The signposts of God are clear and point out the right road. The life-maps of God are right, showing the way to joy. The directions of God are plain and easy on the eyes. God's reputation is twenty-four-carat gold, with a lifetime guarantee. The decisions of God are accurate down to the nth degree.
Psalm 19:6-8 (MSG)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fun in the Meantime

One of my adoptive mom friends has called the waiting time the MEAN-time. I think that emphasis is pretty accurate. Here's what we have done the last couple days as we seek to maximize our present time in Maine before our big transitions:

The Maine Discovery Museum

Beach at Bar Harbor

Court Countdown - FRIDAY - The "Wait-ers"

Today, our prayers are centered not so much on a factor that will directly impact court, but rather on the individuals who are most affected by the court decision. Most importantly, court will affect our boys (whether they fully understand this or not!)

They have been living for approximately four months in our agency's transition home. There are close to 100 children living there. While our agency does a remarkable job providing loving care, nutrition, and stimulation, there are still many challenges. We pray for the boys' health and development as they wait. Additionally, we pray for their emotional health. They have faced so much in their young lives. In the last few months, they have lived in at least 4 different locations, cared for by different people--often strangers. It is possible that A's closest friend at the transition home has recently or will soon leave with his forever family. Beyond all this, we recognize that the boy's will face tremendous stress whenever we are allowed to go get them. We will be taking them away from all that is familiar! How much loss they will have to face in their young lives! We pray for God to pour out his grace and provide them with skills of adaptation and strength for the transition.

Furthermore, we pray for patience for the current Tapper family as we wait. Abby woke up yesterday morning and came downstairs for breakfast. All of a sudden, she looked to me with wide eyes and asked, "Did we pass court?" I assured her that we had a few more days to wait. How precious to see her earnest excitement about bringing home her new brothers! We know that this waiting time is growing our faith and molding us into the people God wants us to be. We pray that God's perfect peace will surround us in the coming days. Whatever news we hear on Monday, we pray that our response would glorify our God greatly.

Father to the fatherless, defender of widows--this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.
Psalm 68:5-6 (NLT)

Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever. They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
Psalm 112:6-7 (TNIV)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Court Countdown - THURSDAY - Outside factors

Thank you for checking in on our prayer concerns for this week. Today, we pray that there would be nothing to deter or postpone our scheduled court proceedings. Admittedly, this is a kind of catch-all prayer. Some of the known factors that have delayed cases in the past are lack of electricity and judges becoming sick or taking vacation days. I suppose the list of possible reasons for delays could be quite a bit longer.

If court is delayed for any reason, it will likely force us to readjust our travel plans again. It will demand re-figuring our new job schedule as well. From our (obviously limited) human perspective, this seems very overwhelming. We truly long for June 22 to be the day when we hear good news about our boys.

Show your strength, God, so no one can miss it. We are out singing the good news!
Psalm 21:13

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Court Countdown - WEDNESDAY - MOWA

Today, our prayers will center on the Ethiopian governmental department in charge of international adoptions. MOWA reviews all of the dossiers submitted by prospective adoptive parents. If this office approves of a family's paperwork, they will write a letter of recommendation that supports the official adoption process. Without this letter of recommendation, court success is impossible.
We ask for prayer that MOWA would not find anything unacceptable in our paperwork. (This was the problem that came up with our first court try. We found out the day before court that MOWA wanted one of our agency's documents to be updated. Unfortunately, that was too late for us. That particular document has been redone and sent to the MOWA office. We believe that all of our paperwork is now okay.)

We also pray that MOWA would write the letter of recommendation in time for our scheduled court appointment. This office has many letters to write, and this work is often done on the very day it is needed. Occasionally, certain interruptions may cause letters to go unwritten. For example, if a MOWA office worker became sick or if there was some malfunction of office equipment, letters may not get written and court may be delayed again. Please pray that nothing would interfere with the writing of our letter of recommendation and that it would arrive in a timely manner before our scheduled court case.

There's no one quite like you among the gods, O Lord, and nothing compares with your works. All the nations you made are on their way, ready to give honor to you, O Lord, ready to put your beauty on display, parading your greatness, and the great things you do--God, you're the one, there's no one but you!

Psalm 86:8-10 (MSG)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Court Countdown - TUESDAY - Orphanage

Today, we lift up the Ethiopian orphanage that originally took in our boys several months ago. While I have been cautioned against sharing specifics relating to our case before we have actually passed court, I can tell you that our children came through a well-established Ethiopian orphanage that has cared for hundreds of orphaned children. The orphanage staff is responsible for the original paperwork necessary for an adoption referral and eventual adoption court proceedings. Please pray that these papers would be in order for our court appearance.

The Ethiopian orphanages are also often the means through which additional information about birth families or relinquishment situations can be gained. As they continue to be on the front lines of orphan care, please pray for their continuing ministry to precious children and their work to connect these children with forever families. Pray that their limited resources would be multiplied and that special needs would be met as they arise.

Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us.
James 1:27 (NLT)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Court Countdown - MONDAY - Agency Paperwork

Today, we are asking for prayers for our agency, AWAA. The work that they do in Ethiopia is really incredible. They handle paperwork for hundreds of families and children. In order for a family to pass court, our agency is required to have certain documents prepared for the judge. We know that some paperwork is simply essential. That's the easy stuff. Additionally, there may be other paperwork that our agency must make predeterminations about, basically guessing what a judge might want to see in relation to our case. That, of course, is very difficult. We pray that they would have wisdom regarding our case, that no mistakes would be made during document preparation, and that nothing would cause loss or damage to these important papers.

Oh! Teach us to live well! Teach us to live wisely and well! Let your servants see what you're best at--the ways you rule and bless your children. And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us, confirming the work that we do. Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do!

Psalm 90:12,16-17 (MSG)

Court Countdown

Our adoption court case is scheduled to take place in Ethiopia one week from tonight. The adoption process is full of so many small details that somehow come together to unite people as family. Over the next few days, I will try to share about some of these details as they relate to the official court decision. We covet your prayer support as we await the outcome.

Most importantly, we pray that God will be honored through this adoption process and in our family during this significant time of transition. Please keep checking back each day as I provide more specific details for you to pray over!

Psalm 145
I lift you high in praise, my God, O my King! and I'll bless your name into eternity!
. . . Everything God does is right -- the trademark of all his works is love. God's there, listening for all who pray, for all who pray and mean it. He does what's best for those who fear him -- hears them call out, and saves them. . . . My mouth is filled with God's praise. Let everything living bless him, bless his holy name from now to eternity.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Pond Life

One of the favorite activities around here lately is frog-hunting. The pond out back is constantly ribbeting and croaking, peeping and splashing. Often just stepping to the edge of the water will produce several small splooshes as a number of frogs move to a less obvious location. We have also seen dragonflies, ducks, turtles, and polliwogs on occasion. But chasing frogs is always sure to bring lots of fun!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Another Small Sampling of What's to Come

Our agency provided us with an update on the boys: a few precious pictures and a brief sketch of their life in the Transition Home. Here's a summary:

Our older boy is described as a "quick learner." He can now count to ten in English and copies letters and words. He also "shares his toys with his friends." The nannies also noted that during breaks in class, he will go "to D's room to see him." (This protective big brother nature is also evident in many of the pictures we have received from traveling families. In almost all of them, A's hands rest protectively on D's little shoulders!)

Our little guy is described as healthy. He is just beginning to speak, having a vocabulary of about ten words. He is also described as "kind of emotional" in that "he gets angry when other kids touch his toys." He likes to play with toy cars. (When Ethan and Abby heard about his toy-defending outbursts, they both agreed that they would help to teach him one of our family's mottos: In our family, WE SHARE! Let's hope their patience can endure a few hits/bites/screams/general 2-year-old hysteria!)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Out of the Uncertainty

This morning, I was quite pleased to see an email from a director at our agency with the subject "New Court Date." We have been eagerly--alright, often anxiously--awaiting word on when we might be able to have this appearance before the Ethiopian judge rescheduled ever since our first scheduled time was denied because of a government paperwork issue.

In adoption circles the question, "Which wait is the hardest?" is sometimes debated. For some, it is the hard-working, paper-chasing wait before you can declare yourself "paper pregnant" or all the necessary documents are collected, signed, sealed, stamped, and sent off to the proper authorities. For others, the hardest part is the do-nothing time of waiting for a referral. Still others find the waits after a referral--with pictures and background information in hand--to be the worst. These may include waiting for a court date or waiting out the time until parents can actually get on a plane to go meet their new family addition(s).

Personally, I do not particularly enjoy the paperwork (who does?), but it is usually a fairly well-laid out process. The inevitable delays and difficulties may arise, but it is easy to see what needs to happen and to make the necessary effort in order to achieve the goal. Not so hard.

Waiting for a referral, on the other hand, was very hard for me. There were so many unknowns. When? How many? What age(s)? From which region? From what circumstance? What genders? When? Will they be related? How will they fit into our family? What will they be like? When? When? When? This was terribly hard for me.

Once we had our referral, the wait for court did not feel too burdensome. It was a delight to have answers to so many of my questions. Having a specific day to focus on also allowed us to make tentative plans. However, with the documentation issues that caused us not to pass that day, our post-referral wait changed dramatically. Suddenly, our file was closed, new paperwork was needed, and new questions started to float in my head: When will our paperwork get there? What will happen to it then? When will we get a new court date? What if we don't pass again? When will we travel? What if we get caught in court closures? Again, the unknowns seemed to press in.

Do you think I have control issues?

What a lesson in gracefulness during helplessness this has been! ...and I must say that I am thankful to leave at least some of the uncertainty behind and to look forward to a new court date: Monday, June 22. Sometime after you and I head to bed on Father's Day night, a judge in Ethiopia will have the opportunity to legally change the status of two beautiful boys in Ethiopia from fatherless to fully adopted. Can you wait?