"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls knows that we know, and holds us responsible to ACT"...Proverbs 24:12

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Paperwork at Embassy!

yahoo!  The girls paperwork finnaly made it to the embassy today!  This is the FINAL step!  The paperwork goes through one last set of investigation- they check everything one final time and then once it's cleared the girls get issued Visa's to travel to the USA!
Once we get the call of clearence we have to make an embassy appointment and can travel to pick them up!

We can pick them up right away and stay with them at the guest house (aghhhh!!!) but we have to stay in the country for almost a week before everything is all set to come home.

We got new pics of the girls too- they have the biggest smiles I've seen on them...my computer is being weird and I cant upload pics unfortunatly.

Im scared to guess timeframes in case Im way off but here goes:
Our adoption agency says it may take 3-4 weeks before clearence but the last few families before us said it only only took them 2 weeks before they got the call.

Either way- they will be home before we know it!!!  I cant wait!  :)

Monday, August 27, 2012

4 years later

This weekend we celebrated what we call 'India Day' or Sova's 4 year anniversary of being in our family.

In the midst of this crazy adoption Sova-Grace is nice reminder in our household that one day...things will be normal.

We met her 4 years ago in a very large and rowdy orphanage. We were literally stepping over children- they seemed to be everywhere. It was so overwhelming.

Everyone who knows our family says they cant remember when Sova wasn't here.

Even after being home 1-2 years later, I remember Sova would often ask children who she just met if they had a mommy.  In her world in was just normal to not have had one and this was an important subject to her on the playground.

No adoption is seamless and rosy. We've had our fair share of difficulties but
she is a perfect fit and we cant imagine life without her. I know we will one day say the same about the twins.

I have to remind myself that Sova came to us not knowing not knowing 1 word of English but she was fluent within 4-5 months. I don't even remember the language barrier being an issue at all...she just picked new words up everyday. The challenge was trying to figure out the English words in her thick little accent...and I secretly love that she still has an accent! Because the twins are older it will definatly take longer for them...I've been told it can be a whole year of charades (but I love games :)

Alot of people are worried about the language issue. Im not exactly sure how it will go but I am sure that they will speak English one day. The reason Im not worried is because I know that unconditional love has no language barriers.

Tonight while tucking Sova in- she told me that her biggest fear is that when I go somewhere- that I wont come back. She is scared that Jacob, Caleb and herself would all have to take care of eachother, "you know, like the boxcar kids." She told me that even when daddy is home and I have to go to a meeting at night she will cry in bed. She told me she is so scared of me not coming home, and her "and the brothers" having to take care of eachother. Then she looked up and stated strongly, "but if I saw a child who was sinking or was being taken away and locked up...I would take that childs place!"

Not sure where that statement even fits into what we were talking about but I think she just wanted to make her point clear. 'I may be scared- but Im willing to sacrifice for the sake of another!'

And the crazy thing is...I really know she would.

Some may say 4 years as an orphan scarred her heart.

Yes, I am Believing for the healing of her insecurities but there is a beauty from the ashes that is indescribable in this child. What a gift... She is rooting for the underdogs in life and I've said it before and I will say it again...she's something special and Im believing she is going to touch countless lives with her compassion.

She's the one who after a few months of being home- threw her stuffed animals and dolls off the bed and scooched over to the side and passionately stated that "we have more room!" "See...I can fit more in my bed! I have too much toys- I can share with them." She told me that I can share my toothbrush and that daddy should go back to India and get more kids because they don't have a mommy and daddy.

I will never forget walking out of her room that night...basically we were scolded for hording- she knew we had too much and we have room for more. She knew the reality that she was living like a princess while her friends were back in the orphanage and that was just not OK with her.

I prayed that night that she would never loose that...thank you God, she still has it.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Friends of our's shared with us the story of 2 sweeties from eastern europe that have a family in NC who are praying and  fundraising their way to them...they have immediate medical concerns. 
Feel free to share their blog...you never know who it can reach and touch!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

The first year home

Great Blog on what to expect for the first year home-
It was a good reminder for us and I thought it would be good to share...


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Moving along

Well we are trucking along...

Just got an update that the girls passports were issued yesterday.
Next Tuesday the 21st they have will their medicals done and once those are done our paper work will Finnaly be submitted to the embassy.
 Strangely the embassy only accepts paperwork on Tuesdays so seeing how their medicals are going to be on Tuesday- our paperwork will probrably get submitted the following Tuesday on Aug. 28th. 

The embassy will then email us when they recieve it and they go through the final 'investigation.'  Typically cases are cleared within 3-4 weeks. 
We will then be able to make our own appointment with them on the day of our choice.  We were told that most families pick a date about 2 weeks away in order to get plane tickets, house and children in order...but I think we will just fly out of the door and say we're on our way.  If the time line goes on schedule then we will expect the green light near the end of September!
There is tons of waiting in an adoption...but this by far is the worst! 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A day I'll never forget

Region:  Tigray   City:  Mekele
The girls are from northern Ethiopia from the region of Tigray.  They grew up outside of the city of Mekele.  WOW!  It is a gorgeous land!  Beautiful exotic looking mountains w/ lush greenery.
Well- the research I did on Tigray was pretty much right on- (I posted pictures of Tigray stuff a couple months ago.)

It is a rural farming community.  I did feel like I was stepping back into time.  Everywhere you looked were donkeys and horses carrying things.  Men were plowing their feilds w/ oxen.  Women and children walked w/ water jugs and sat on the streets selling corn, fruits, or other goods. 
Mekele is the capital city of that region.  Here's Pics of Mekele.

horses, goats, and oxen everywhere

the city streets


veiw overlooking the city

probrably passed by 100 of these durring our stay in Ethiopia.  People sleep in these.  There are tons- actually much smaller than these- all over the busy streets of the Capitol in Addis.  The homelessness was instense.  If they didnt have a tin makeshift tent then they sleep right on the sidewalks, intersections, busy street corners, and highway mediums. 

Now, the girls grew up on the outskirts of the city.  Again, it reminded me of Bible times...
Here is the girls neighborhood and streets leading to their home where they grew up.

Here is their home!  We feel so incredibly blessed to have gotten this oppurtunity!

cooking stuff- and yes probrably including those chickens walking around the house...


Wall hangings...the black and white photo is a picture of their father who passed away when they were babies.

Soooo excited to have a picture of the twins when they were babies!  Jerusalem is on the left in the red hat and Helen is on the right in the red hat.  The other baby and older girl are family friends.  I have a clearer picture than this and you can clearly see the girls in their baby pics- so special!

Most woman in Ethiopia wear traditional white cotton shawls wrapped around their shoulders.  The girls's mother makes theses shawls and I was told that she, 'trades them for food' not sure if that means litteral trading for food or if that means that selling these shawls has been her livlihood.  Here is her work...

This pot is where they keep their water.  They then carry jugs to the town center to get more water.

As soon as we arrived- the neighborhood kids filled up the home.  Azmera told most of the children to leave but this little one and several of the other neighbor children stayed with us on our visit.  When I showed them pictures on my camera of the twins- they got so excited and started kissing my camera :)  They would run back and forth to their homes as little messengers bringing Azmera sugar and china cups for our coffee that she was roasting.

This photo was taken standing in the doorway to the house.  There was 1 bed for the 3 of them.  Originally we thought that they had no electricity- it was quite dim in there but after looking back at these pictures we see that there was 1 lightbulb hanging down in the center.

It was quite an incredible visit.  Besides the fact that when the girls are in a car they  hold on like it's a rolllercoaster, you would really never believe that they grew up in such rural conditions. 
Pretty amazing.

We gained so much from this day.  Not only was seeing their home beneficial but we were able to learn more of their background and family history.  We learned more about their father, we learned about what their daily routines have consisted of, we heard about school stories and fights. 

We learned how much God dirrected our paths to cross eachother and it was not by chance that we learned about the girls.

We learned where the girls quiet mannerisms and deep strength came from. 

They are deeply loved...more deeply loved than we can fathom. 

Yes, their mother is sick and the children needed a new home but even more than that, it sounded like she was trying to save them from something else.  Something else that most of us have never experienced nor dreaded for our children.  She know's the life that the girls would have entered into and she did not want that for them.  Im sure they have been cold and hungry many anights but that is not even what the answer she gave.
She said she did not want them to be destined to life on the streets or in the bars...
meaning childhood prostition. 

 After talking with a friend of mine who is from Africa,  she said she has no doubt the girls have lived with this fear themselves for years.
The first thing their mother said to us as we walked through the door, was that we were her miracle. 

She is a woman of faith who trusts God and knows that he is in control.  We were able to tell her everything that we wanted to say to her- which was definatly the most difficult part.  It was easy asking her questions about her life and the girls, but when it came down to telling her everything that we felt...

That was my emotional breakdown were I just began sputtering words that sounded like I was pledgeing a vow to her- including that she will always be a part of our family, that the girls will be loved, protected, educated, and raised with the morals she has already instilled in them and will continue to have their faith nurtured.  I explained that it was not by chance that we were standing in her home and that God instructed us to adopt her daughters.
Her last words to us was that she can finnaly sleep at night.

Even being in Africa, seeing the poverty and walking this through this emotinal adoption- I can still not fathom the hardships and reality of life and death that millions of families face.  
We are so incredibly blessed in the US...I can only pray that as a nation we will wake up and use our blessed lives for eternal value instead of wasting it on things that will one day pass away.

Profound story I read:

Once there was a people who surveyed the resources of the world and said to each other: “How can we be sure that we will have enough in hard times? We want to survive whatever happens. Let us start collecting food, materials and knowledge so that we are safe and secure if a crisis occurs.” So they started hoarding. So much and so eagerly that the other peoples protested and said: “You have so much more than you need, while we don’t have enough to survive. Give us part of your wealth!” But the fearful hoarders said: “No, no we need to keep this in case of emergency, in case things go bad for us too, in case our lives are threatened.” But the others said: “We are dying now, please give us food and materials and knowledge to survive. We can’t wait… we are dying now!”
Then the fearful hoarders became even more fearful since they became afraid that the poor and hungry people would attack them. So they said to one another: “Let us build walls around our wealth so that no stranger can take it from us.” They started erecting walls so high that they could not even see anymore whether their enemies we outside the walls or not! As their fear increased they put bombs at the top of their walls so that nobody from outside would even dare to come close. But instead of feeling safe and secure behind their armed walls they found themselves trapped in the prison they had built with their own fear. They even became afraid of their own bombs, wondering if they might harm themselves more than their enemy. And gradually they realize that their fear of death had brought them closer to it. – Henry Nouwen

Saturday, August 4, 2012


So we've been back for 1 day- kind of feels alot longer than that though!

The flight home definatly was not as bad- it felt longer but at least we were able to sleep through alot of it.  Even our 5 hour layover in Dubai- I was amazingly able to sleep in a chair for most of the time. 

The moment when the kids flung through the door was awesome.  Mike was in the backyard so I had all 3 clinging on me like little monkeys.  Jacob was of course wipeing tears away like his mama :)
It's crazy what 10 days could be like for people who are usually around eachother All day long!

Even tonight after I tucked them in Jacob came out asking if I can lay with him because 'he still fells like he misses me.'  While we laid together he started crying telling me how much he missed us...I feel like he had to be so strong all that time and was finnaly able to just let it out now that we were home!  I hope our next trip will be a bit shorter for the kids sake...

We abolutlely Love Ethiopia.  Yes there is extreme poverty every where you look- but there is so much beauty there too.  The people are very warm and open.  I already miss it and cant wait to go back!

On paper we are told that the Visa's will be ready in 2-4 months.  I complelety ignore that later number and have been focusing on the '2.'   BUT when I spoke to our agency guy in Ethiopia and told him we hope we will be back in October- he told me he thinks that we have good chances of getting called back in Septemeber!  He's only guessing but he is the 'insider' so Im gonna go w/ his guess!

I also wanted to say thank you so much for everyone's excitement and kind words to us while we have been on this journey.  We've had so much nervousness, worried thoughts and even hesitations along the way- but having our family and friends walking these steps w/ us encouraging us and getting excited with us...it really means so much to us- it's a huge blessing to have you guys with us!  God had directed this path from the beginning and I'm praying for this completion to come quickly! 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Last day!

We flew out to the north yesterday and spent the afternoon at the orphanage where the girls where 1st brought to.  There were alot of children there and we had fun playing and loving on them.  I have some great pics of the day that I will have to post when we get home.

The region were the girls grew up is:  beautiful, rural, farming, Mts., lush and green, clean, simple- very special. 

The greatest blessing of all was being brought to the twins home where they have lived for the past 11 years and meeting their beautiful mother.  I still am in shock from seeing where they grew up- it was truly a sticks and dirt hut less than 1/2 the size of my kitchen w/ 1 bed for the 3 of them, no electricity or running water. I cant even put into words what that was like.  While I was sitting and talking with her w/ roosters strutting past me I was consiously aware of  the fact that this was absolutly the hardest experience that I have ever walked in to.
There were moments where I lost it but I am so thankful for the strentght and peace that God has given to both Azmera and us to communicate everything that we wanted to.  We gained so much from this meeting it was absolutely priceless.   Once I process this day I would love to share more.  It was a beautiful time that I will forever cherish.

I have mixed emotions about our day tomorrow.  In one sense I am SO ready to come home and be with my kids...10 days is way too long for a mama who misses them after a few hours!
But coming home means saying goodbye to the twins after we just met and that is so hard!  They clearly understand eveything that is going on- they know we have to leave and that we will come back to bring them home with us in a couple months.  They are at an orphanage where all the children are adopted and waiting for their families to come- so they get to watch what that is like for the next couple months.  They have their photo albums to look at while they wait to get acustumed to what life may be like soon.  We included pictures of almost every room in the house- even our van and yard- hoping that the pics may help ease the culture shock.

So Thursday we spend the morning with the girls, we fly out of Ethiopia in the afternoon, we have a dreadfull layover in Dubai- we arrive there at 10 pm and our flight to JFK doesnt leave until 3 AM!  Then we fly back into time or something like that for 16 hrs. and arrive home Friday morning...phew- I'm scared!  Pray we dont crash when we get home and we are able to be alert for our excited kiddos!