Saturday, December 26, 2009

.....


Merry Christmas, Baby girl....
surely next year...... surely.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Jubilee.....


"...a little girl without a family for almost 8 years now has a family that will love her forever!." Precious Jubilee, after 600 days of wait and what looked like a closed door, has just met her momma....


There is rejoicing in heaven...and here too.... Congratulations Linny, Jubilee and family!


You give me hope and spur me on. You lift me up and inspire me when my spirit is dragging...
And Kat...your comment yesterday....thank you...bless you....your prayers mean more than you know. Thank you.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A message of Hope and Miracles...


The message at church today was about hope and miracles and praying for your own miracle. I prayed for Mame.....and my kids.....


I truly want to believe in a miracle....even after all this time. God's timing I cannot understand. I feel so urgent. As days, weeks, months, years pass...I feel..God how can THIS timing be right, as we all get older?


Most people have stopped asking.

Those that do, ask hesitantly.

Or they assume the worse. I have had two folks in the past month say something like, I don't think she is coming home. Or "they" are doing something wrong. (ie corrupt). Like how in the world could I keep hoping and believing?

Sad words
sad looks
There is no way I could explain to someone not in this journey how it could ever take this long. How we can wait month after month after month for a piece of paper, knowing nothing, yet still believing.

Our enemy does not want my daughter in a family. Does not want any of these children adopted. But what he has planned for ruin, God has planned for good. I don't know why He has allowed it to go on this long. I don't know why it is has come to this. But I don't for a minute believe that God does not want me to adopt Mame. He is all about the orphan and families.

Something so hard (and so long) just makes all the minor stuff so very very minor. .....

So sad looks, sad words..... I can handle it. One day this sadness will turn to joy, I believe that. Lord, I do believe that.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

sad face...

i saw new pictures of my girl today.... and she has a sad face.....no hopeful, not smiling for the camera...

ah dear one, I know how hard it is to keep hoping, believing..... sometimes I sit and see it has been two years since i started this journey, and I just cannot believe it. it is unreal. your little sister has grown from 4 to 6, your big brothers from 7 and 9 to 9 and 11..... a lot of living in two years.....and a lot of longing. Its not fun waiting anymore, as if it ever was. But I use to get excited with photos and excited with trip reports and excited to look at my email and hope for news...

now it all makes me sad.....

God is close to the brokenhearted..... hold on sweet one, joy cometh.

Friday, December 11, 2009

More Hoops.......sigh...


yea, I know...it's small potatoes...but it seems like every time I think I am done, there is something else to do.


I am getting my home study updated. I have done everything the agency requires, and I sent my app with the requirements listed into the USCIS office.


I got a letter today, from the USCIS office that, of course there are MORE hoops to jump...even though they did not include it on the list of things is said I needed to send it to them, before.


sigh... so now more paper chasing. They want three things....one of which I don't remember how I get it.


Sigh..


weary of it all...but she is worth it.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Three Christmas Gifts....for Mame



Dear sweet daughter, not yet mine,
I cannot give you presents, at leatst not now, not the normal kind. Oh I do have for you a dolly, I have been saving since last year, and drawers full of clothes you keep outgrowing, without one tag taken off. Your growing little sister has enjoyed the "hand me downs". I have some books and hair bows and clips and pjs and robe.
But all of those will have to wait.
This Christmas, I have three OTHER gifts I am giving you....
Faith, Hope and Love.
Faith, in God our Abba, our daddy, who sees you, knows your heart, has good plans for you, for your future and is preparing a place for you, a family for you, love for you, that you do not know. Faith, because I know HE knows the timing and the exact moment when my hands will touch your face for the first time. I hold on to that faith in Him, for you...
Hope, that even when it looks darkest, longest, most overwhelming, to know how our God works and to hope in Him. To know we are on the edge of triumph and great joy. That those who sow in tears will reap in joy..and joy cometh in the morning...any morning now... I keep my Hope running bright, for you. And for "Hope", the place you have lived these past twenty-two months. For those who have fed you and clothed you and taught you in school. For the friendships and care.
Love, that I love you, when I have never yet met you. And that your brothers and sisters love you to. That we all know this love will grow, when we are united as a family. That we know our loving heavenly Father, Abba, is pouring out His love into our hearts and into yours. ...and we can love each other, because He first loved us....
Love is patient....
So I take these three gifts for you, faith, hope and love, and I wrap them all up in prayer and send them off for you.
Merry Christmas, dear Mame.... hold on yet a while longer.
Momma.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Check, check, check....



doctor visits - check
lab tests - check
medical reports - check

home visits - check
employment verifications - check
friend referrals - check
forms, forms, forms - check - check - check
three school teacher letters, - check
copies of birth certificates, government forms, applications, drs license, insurance cards, registrations...... - check - check - check - check - check - check - check - check - check - check - check - check - check - check - check - check - check - check - check - check - check - check - check - check - check - check - check - check - check - check - check
fingerprints.... - check

Today I finished the last item I needed to do or collect for our homestudy update. Since it is over 18 months since the first one, it had to be done again. :(

All done, but the money. It is hard to find a big chunk of ..well not change...paperstuff...during this Christmas month. Praying the Lord will provide and help me squeeze it out through the cracks.

sigh....pray Mame goes to court SOOON and we pass....it is time, dear Lord, isn't it?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hungry for hope......

ps. Note to self: There is nothing new that God did not already know, at the time I started this journey. He saw and knew it all in advance...and had it planned for. Hold fast!
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Last night, after a battle of flesh and spirit, my son, hungry for hope, asked me to read from a christian book we are reading together :How to make Brothers and Sisters Best Friends"? He was hungry for hope....and in the middle of discouragement and despair, was longing for a glimmer that things could be different....

We are all hungry for hope....as we wait on God.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Giving voice.....

....to our children....orphan or not.... Making them feel safe, loved, cared for heard...through giving them a voice to speak. Directing them to use good words, but helping them understand you are listening. Also nuturing the caregiver...momma or whoever... In Beyond Logic, Consequences and Control, one concept that keeps coming back to me, reproving its validity, is that the adult/parent in the situation has their own brokenness and needs healing, otherwise we react from our own pain.

Dr. Karyn Purvis on Giving Voice:



The Importance of Giving Voice to Children from Tapestry on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

It must be love....

March 27th 2008 is when I recieved my referral for Mame. Was told most adoptions in Ethiopia are completed in 6 months. With all the hoops and paperwork (and money) and delays and failed court dates and changes in personnel and changes in policy and courts and law and .....

all of it...much more I won't mention here.... I am surprized in a way that I am still here. That the proverbial towel has not hit the floor and the fighter stumbled away.

But I am. Like I am with my children I already have at home, I am in love with my child and you take whatever comes. Doesn't mean you don't feel and reel from each punch, each blow, each gasp for breath as the air has been knocked out of you again..... It is hard to keep a sense of excited, frenzy, after 18 months of waiting and no end in sight. It is hard to get hopeful about any evaporating droplet of news.... (usually isn't any)... and when personnel changes once again, I get scared.

Will the "new folks" care about my daughter? Will the understand the urgency of her paperwork in the mountain of others? Will they take any personal, push it through action?

So fear stirs in my airless belly.

But then, I remember....

When I am afraid, I trust in God. He is my hope and Mame's. He is never suprized or sucker-punched. So I trust, pray and trust...and ache.

It must be love....

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Beyond Consequences, Logic and Control..

I am halfway through this book, after staying up to 1 am last night reading...and then a couple hours this morning.

It is profoundly resonating with me, as Karyn Purvis The Connected Child book (and her videos) did.

I feel the two really compliment each other. I have yet to apply my learning, but just the understanding alone is turning the light on my darkness of confusion, hopelessness and frustration.

I believe God works in so many ways in our lives, and a book is often one of his big ways in mine.

I felt so saddened and frustrated last week, when I tried to share with a teacher how a child with attachment challenges or who has come from "the hard places" (Karyn Purvis' term) reacts and handles correction differently, and their behavior challenges come from different motives.

I received no affirmation or even willingness that perhaps that could be true and just the response of "Well I don't know about that. All I know is the Bible and it says Children Obey."

It saddened me. Of course the Bible is full of wisdom and the very principles in this book and in the Connected Child are dripping with the gentleness, love, compassion, grace and understanding of Jesus. It feels like, with children, we often put them under the old testament law, versus the message of grace.

If we as adults cannot live under the law, if WE do what we don't want to do and don't do what we want, then why do we expect little souls to be successful under the law, rather than grace? Because it is easier, for us. It is black and white and clear and this equals that.

yet, hearts and little souls are not that cut and dry.

What I am praying now, as I learn things from this book, is not only how to apply that at home, in our family, but how I can help my children's teachers open up to what would encourage and reinforce connection and relationship, versus what would trigger fear and stress responses. It is not easy being a teacher, I know. It is not easy being a momma. And it really is not easy being a little child "from the hard places."

I highly recommend this book..for all adoptive parents, but I am also seeing in my other two, who have experienced the trauma of a divorce, abandonment, etc....it applies to them as well.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

One pair of shoes...

This is so beautiful......(thanks Cris for sharing it)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Children from Hard Places: What Everyone Needs to Know



This comes from Empowered to Connect... thought I would share:



-------------------------------------
“Children from Hard Places.” This is the phrase used by Dr. Purvis and others to describe children that have experienced some type of abuse, neglect or trauma during their lives (including prenatal exposure to substances or high levels stress, difficult labor or birth before or medical trauma). Obviously, this phrase applies to most children who were adopted or spent time in foster care.
Our focus for these children must always be clear: to help them heal and become whole in body, mind and spirit. This is done not by focusing on achieving “good behavior,” but by helping our children create strong connections built on trust. Out of this can grow not only “good behavior,” but so many other things that our children need and that we desire for them. By balancing structure with nurture and always remaining mindful of the inherent preciousness of each and every child, we have the opportunity to help our children realize dramatic strides and in the process discover (and re-discover) the joy in parenting.
In this presentation (from April 2009 at Summit V, hosted by the
Christian Alliance for Orphans), Dr. Karyn Purvis talks about what everyone needs to know about children from hard places – and how we can go about creating and fostering strong and lasting connections to help them heal and grow.
audio recording of this presentation (mp3 file)
This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file:
Download Now

A new Ethiopia Ocean???


"A 35-mile rift in the desert of Ethiopia will likely become a new ocean eventually, researchers now confirm. "

The crack, 20 feet wide in spots, opened in 2005 and some geologists believed then that it would spawn a new ocean. But that view was controversial, and the rift had not been well studied. " Read more here.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I had a little giggle.....


I had a little giggle yesterday....as I realized something.

Something I must have known, but did not admit? Not even to myself. Because once I said the thought, in my mind, it locked in like a missing puzzle piece. Like it was there all along, unnoticed.


As I read some responses to my "Surely Not" post, and read once again, Linny's great post on other's reactions to adopting, or adopting again....


I got this little giggle, way down deep in my tummy/heart....


...a secret thrill.


The giggle came from the fact that I realize, ....
as I wait for Olivia, confident she will join us early in 2010, after our long wait
as I tighten the belt and watch our budget tightly
as I pray and ponder over each of my precious children's individual challenges
as I struggle over my own spiritual growth
as I juggle schedules and field trips and home work
as I make Christmas, rather than buy Christmas
as large birthday parties have been replaced with small family celebrations

as I wonder how God can think I am enough, as their parent
as I know too well any providing I do, is by the Grace and provision of God
as I feel my body aging, and see it in the mirror
as I look back into other eyes that shake their head in confusion about me
as I have yet to find the meal, that all mouths will praise {and eat}



I realize {admit what my heart already knows}
that I will adopt...... again. {Lord providing}


And my heart swells and my soul giggles. With a secret Madonna-smile on my lips, I ponder these things in my heart.


I know all the logical protests. I live them.
I know the just-don't-get-it puzzlements. I see them.
I know that without the grace of God we will never make it. I embrace it.


I know I will adopt again and it makes me giggly, happy.
Don't know when, don't know who, don't know how. But I know why...


James 1:27 clearly states: Pure religion in the sight of God is to care for the orphan and widow, and my heart wants to. Was born to. Finds joy in it.


And those who get it, giggle with me.
The rest of you, pray for us! :)

Surely Not?


(This was sent to me by someone else, written by someone else....yet, well worth the ponder.)

______________________________

Imagine with me for a minute…

Right now, today…

you are small and alone.

You are hungry and lost.

You have no home, no parents, and seemingly no future.

You are scared, and weak, from days without food. You have nowhere to go, nowhere to be.

People walk by you but they don’t even look your way. It’s like you are invisible, nothing.

You keep walking, your feet are bleeding and sore… and yet still you manage to cling to the small bit of hope, the little voice inside your head that says maybe, just maybe, one day things will get better. Maybe one day -you will matter.

It is getting dark outside- inside your fear is growing. Where will you go?

Your heart is beating faster, and your fear becomes overwhelming, consuming your every thought. Then you see it, a dirty, broken cardboard box and you bow your head thanking God for His provision. For you have found it- shelter. Safety, if only for one night.

You slip underneath it, hugging yourself, vowing once again not to cry- because by now you know tears are a waste of your strength. Your eyes become heavy, despite the sweltering temperature. As you begin to drift off to sleep you pray, hoping, dreaming, of a family of your own one day...of a place where you will matter...to someone.

Somewhere else in the world is a family...

They are just sitting down to dinner together.They are smiling and their laughter fills the room.

Dinner is served and they bow their heads and they pray- thanking God for their many blessings… their home, their job, the food that is set before them.They lift their heads and go back to the laughter and the joy.

They talk of their upcoming vacation plans, the lunch date they shared with a friend today and the movie they plan to see this coming weekend.

More laughter, more excitement, more. As the leftovers are scraped into the garbage can and the table is cleaned up, hot bubble bathes are taken by all.

Evening settles in, and the family slips under their down comforters preparing for a good night's sleep.

Before turning out the lights, the husband leans over to kiss his wife good-night. She shyly smiles at him and begins to tell him that she has been feeling that perhaps God is calling them to adopt.

The room grows quiet as they are both lost in their own thoughts…

their minds are flooded with questions, concern, and then inevitably -fear.

How could they manage?
Another child?
Why, they already have two!
Where would they put the child?
Who would share a room?
How could they afford to adopt?
Would they be able to take that vacation?
What would people think?
What if the child, you know, caused ‘problems’?

As their eyelids become heavy, they begin to drift off to sleep...
and they think to themselves ‘surely not’.

Surely God knows this is not convenient.
Surely God wants them to take that vacation they deserve...
Surely he knows how busy they are.
They have plans and they have dreams.
As sleep overcomes them, the temperature in their master bedroom is perfect…
and their pillows are fluffed to perfection.

Life is good for them, just as they had planned...
Because after all, they matter...
Too much...

to themselves.






Friday, October 23, 2009

Ethiopia seeks urgent food aid for 6 million


Ethiopia said Thursday it needs emergency food aid for 6.2 million people, an appeal that comes 25 years after a devastating famine compounded by communist policies killed 1 million and prompted one of the largest charity campaigns in history.
The crisis stems from a prolonged drought that has hit much of the Horn of Africa, including Kenya and Somalia.
Drought is especially disastrous in Ethiopia because more than 80 percent of people live off the land. Agriculture drives the economy, accounting for half of all domestic production and most exports.
Mitiku Kassa, Ethiopia's state minister for agriculture and rural development, appealed to donors Thursday for more than $121 million. In January, he had said that 4.9 million of Ethiopia's 85 million people needed emergency food aid.
Ethiopia has long struggled with cyclical droughts, which are compounded by the country's dependence on rain-fed agriculture and archaic farming practices.
In 1984, Ethiopia's famine drew international attention as news reports showed emaciated children and adults with limbs as thin as sticks. The crisis launched one of the biggest global charity campaigns in history, including the concert Live Aid.
This year's drought appears to be slightly less severe than the one last year, which was exacerbated by high food prices. A year ago, Mitiku appealed for aid to feed 6.4 million people affected by drought. Many humanitarian groups have said in recent years that they believe the number of people affected by hunger is higher than government estimates.
Because of Ethiopia's large size and poor infrastructure, independent observers have difficulty collecting data. The worst-affected areas in the country's east are the site of a fierce insurgency and are off-limits to journalists. Aid groups say their movements in these areas are limited by military restrictions.
Nick Martlew, an official with the aid group Oxfam in Ethiopia, said the country's east should be green and healthy now, but that crops are wilting in the sun and won't produce a sufficient amount of food.
"Really until June next year there is going to be insufficient food around," he said. "Where we are in eastern Ethiopia you can look out and it's completely barren as far as the eye can see."
Drought and water shortages are also increasing in Ethiopia's south because of a changing climate, Martlew said. Oxfam is helping villages collect rain water for long-term use.
In a report marking 25 years since Ethiopia's famine, Oxfam said countries must focus on preparing communities to prevent and deal with drought and other disasters before they strike, rather than relying on importing aid.
According to the U.N., nearly two-thirds of Africa's agricultural land has been degraded by erosion and misused pesticides. In Ethiopia, where bad farming practices have led to massive erosion, 85 percent of land is damaged.
"The current humanitarian situation underlines our belief that while food aid — much of it donated by foreign donors — is important and can save lives, we need greater funding for longer-term solutions, which can begin to tackle the underlying causes that make people so vulnerable to disasters," said Oxfam's Ethiopia country director, Waleed Rauf.
In eastern Ethiopia's Hararge zone, the scene of some of the worst hunger and drought-related suffering last year, health official Aliye Youya said few infants had come in to the main feeding center for treatment. A new initiative by the Ethiopian government to put health workers in every neighborhood has helped, he said.
But he said he was still concerned about the lack of rain in some areas.
"(A month ago) there was no rain, especially in the lowland areas," he said. "But nowadays there is some rain. The drought is affecting the lowland areas."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hope ..... and prayer.

(Picture of the city of Gondor)

I received three new pictures of my girl this week. She is looking so BIG. I can't wait to see her face to face, touch her cheek, braid her hair and hug the dickens out of her.

I received some hopeful promising news today. We were waiting on a) the rainy season to stop and b)a living relative to be found to complete the relinquishment papers.

Well, the rains have stopped...(at least to the point that the courts are open and the roads are passable)...AND..... (drum roll please!) A relative has been found and has agreed to finish the paperwork. The challenge is that she is elderly and need to travel from her village to Gondor to complete the paperwork. Please pray that this will happen next week. And we can move forward from our long, long, long wait.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Odd Man Out...a peek at "In"

Yesterday I got a peek at the "to be"....what is to come.....

When I decided to adopt again, I decided to adopt another little girl, because I already had two sons and one daughter. I also changed my mind on adopting two little girls, at the same time, this time around, for the same reason....


Odd man out, is no fun. As much as we are a family, in all of this together, with two boys, sharing the same room, the same boyish interests, and often the same "play themes"...Mary often ends up feeling like the odd man out. Sleeping in her room alone....no playmate when the boys are playing something a little too advanced for her....

Yesterday I got a peek, and she got a taste, of what it will be like in our future, when Olivia Mame is here. We went to my brothers to visit...and all four of my neices and nephews were there, two of my nieces with their four children between them...which brings us to Heaven. Heaven is the step-daughter of one of my nieces and about two years older than Mary, still young enough to be a playmate. All day long the two of them played...dolls, lincoln logs, squirt guns, pool antics.... They may have squabbled quietly {yes, it actually WAS quietly, compared to the boy/girl squabbles that happen in our home}, but overall they just hung out and enjoyed each other's company. And I noticed NOT ONCE did she and her brothers get into an argument about ANYTHING! It was such a delight!!!

And it just showed me how life can be for us, once Olivia is here. Wow! The difference in Momma's day (and peace of mind) was astounding and Mary seemed to just be delighted! It also confirmed my decision of why I should adopt only one at this time. (Who knows what the future may bring. :) I keep thinking about a post I saw of "siblings available for referral.")

Thank you Lord for a peek into what is to be!....

Friday, October 2, 2009

Ethiopia in the Bible....

The references below were researched and copied by Chuck, wife of Cris..from her blog here. Just wanted to share.

CREATION

Ethiopia is first mentioned in the Creation account itself. The river that watered the Garden of Eden (Gen 2:10) split into four giant rivers: "The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold... the name of the second river is Gihon: that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia." (Gen 2:11, 13). God's "Garden" was quite colossal, actually - more like a giant preserve, a country or a continent. His "Garden" had to be watered by a mighty river! That river split into four other mighty rivers, two of which flowed in Ethiopia.

THE PROPHET ZEPHANIAH

The prophet Zephaniah was at least half Ethiopian (he had an Ethiopian father, no info about his mother). This Israelite prophet was a direct descendant of King Hezekiah: "The word of the LORD which came unto Zephaniah the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hizkiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah." (Zep 1:1). "Cushi" means "man of Ethiopia". There are three men named Cushi in scripture, all very prominent: Joab's runner (2 Samuel 18:21-32), the great-grandfather of Jehudi the scribe (Jer 36:14), and Zephaniah the prophet's father (Zep 1:1).

MOSES WIFE

Moses had an Ethiopian wife. He married her after his first wife died. Moses' only children were through his first wife, Zipporah (1 Chr 23:15). God punished Moses' sister Miriam with leprosy after she and his brother Aaron spoke against Moses for marrying her (see Numbers 12:1-15).

JEREMIAH'S RESCUER

Another Ethiopian saved Jeremiah's life. Jer 38:4-15 records: "Therefore the princes said unto the king, let this man be put to death..." Zedekiah the king said, "Behold, he is in your hand..." "Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah the son of Hammelech, that was in the court of the prison: and they let down Jeremiah with cords. And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire: so Jeremiah sunk in the mire. Now when Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, one of the eunuchs which was in the king's house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon; Ebed-melech went and spoke to the king, saying, My lord the king, these men have done evil to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon; and he is likely to die for hunger in the place where he is: for there is no more bread in the city.Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, Take thirty men with thee, and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon, before he die. So Ebed-melech took the men with him, and went into the house of the king under the treasury, and took old rotten rags, and let them down by cords into the dungeon to Jeremiah. And Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, Put these under your arms. And Jeremiah did. So they drew up Jeremiah with cords, and took him up out of the dungeon: and Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison.Jer 39:15-18 says, "Now the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah, while he was shut up in the court of the prison, saying, Go and speak to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring my words upon this city for evil, and not for good; and they shall be accomplished in that day before thee. But I will deliver you in that day, saith the LORD: and you shall not be given into the hand of the men of whom you are afraid... because thou hast put thy trust in me, saith the LORD." God used this Ethiopian man to save the life of the prophet Jeremiah, then God blessed Ebed-melech by saving his life in return. A RUMOR

SAVES JERUSALEM

God also used a rumor about an Ethiopian king to save Jerusalem during one of the most famous battles in the Bible. The Bible talks about this battle in 2 Kings 18 and Isaiah 37. There was a king named Rab-shakeh who had Jerusalem surrounded. It looked like God's people were doomed. He had conquered other mighty nations before attacking Jerusalem. But he got so proud and cocky that he started blaspheming God. Isaiah 37:7-9 is God's reply to Rab-shakeh: "...he shall hear a rumor, and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land. So Rab-shakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah: for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish. And he heard say concerning Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, He is come forth to make war with you...." -- God sent Rab-shakeh back to his own country and killed him. And He used a rumor about Tirhakah, king of Ethiopia, to get Rab-shakeh back there.1

MILLION-MAN ARMY

Of the nations that Israel went to war against in her history, Ethiopia had the largest army. Its size is mentioned in 2Ch 14:9 "And there came out against them Zerah the Ethiopian with a host of a thousand thousand, and three hundred chariots; and came unto Mareshah." A thousand thousand is a million. Zerah the Ethiopian led a 1 million man army, the largest numbered army that Israel ever fought. Zerah the Ethiopian went to war against Asa king of Judah, whose army was much smaller. Without God on their side, any army of any size can be defeated. 2Chronicles 14:10-12 continues "Then Asa went out against him, and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. And Asa cried to the LORD his God, and said, LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou [art] our God; let not man prevail against thee. So the LORD smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled."

PHILIP & THE ETHIOPIAN EUNUCH

Another Ethiopian (the Ethiopian Eunuch) is mentioned in Acts chapter 8. We know he had traveled over 1,000 miles, from Ethiopia to Jerusalem, to worship God (Acts 8:27). It would be hard to believe any man would travel that far across the desert by chariot, but he did.In Acts 8:28, we find him "reading Isaiah the prophet" as he traveled. When Philip drew near the chariot he asked the Ethiopian if he understood what he was reading. He replied, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" (Acts 8:31). After this, Philip got up into the chariot and "preached Jesus to him" (Acts 8:35). In the course of preaching Jesus, Philip spoke of water baptism. We know this because the Ethiopian said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" (Acts 8:36). Philip responded "If you believe with all your heart you may" (Acts 9:37). The man then confessed, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." His confession was an acknowledgment of the Lordship of Christ. After his confession, "he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him" (Acts 8:38).

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

For my girl(s), and all the girls out there still...



This really got me thinking. On their website: http://www.girleffect.org/#/splash/, there is a document you can download, if you click on the line that reads:


BIG ISSUES NEED BIG SUPPORTERS INTERESTED? DOWNLOAD YOUR MOVE


It is a long document, but GOOD. Don't print it, just read it. It has all kinds of ideas on how to make a difference. As I desiminate the contents and look into some of the ideas, I will post more here.


For now, it's a start to raise awareness, my awareness, and to realize again, what a blessing to make a difference in my girls...and then to ponder how to move that effect beyond just them.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mame


Happy Birthday, Mame........ {again} !
I hope you had a special blessing today. Did you even know it was your birthday?
We are still waiting for you...... don't give up on us.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Friday, September 4, 2009

(RED) NIghts - Lisa Hannigan

I know (hope) by now most everyone has heard of the (RED) Campaign, where part of your purchase price on products goes to buying anti-virus meds for Africa, but have you head of (RED) Nights? These are artists who have dedicate the proceeds from a particular concert to go to the same cause. The post above is Lisa Hannigan.

I wish there were some (RED) Nights Concerts in my area and that more artists would do this. Wouldn't it be cool of some Christian artists would join in this effort, like Casting Crowns, Mercy me, Michael W Smith....cross that line and join in...

Maybe I will drop them a lone and suggest it. What about you?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Words and Prayers....


A momma just returning from Ethiopia, bringing home her children, shared this about Mame:
Sandee
Just wanted to tell u what a special girl you have in Mame. She has such a presence about her. My husband fell in love with both she and El-shaday. She is VERY VERY pretty and her smile will melt your heart. You are one lucky mom!
Now if I could just get her home! And dear Kat, asked folks to pray for Mame on her blog. Thank you. I'm off to Snapfish to see if there are new pictures of Olivia Mame....

Friday, August 28, 2009

Is this the hardest thing I'll ever do?



I don't think so. I am sure it is not. But it feels hard today.

To keep believing, keep hoping, keep waiting, keep being in the dark.

I get grumpy over it.


See I don't trust. I don't trust that anyone is doing anything or really cares, or can do anything or is even giving my case a second thought...

or if they do, it is, yea that one...and move the file aside. Because it is hard.

So I sometimes think, why not just stop it. Say you are done, ask for all your money back. Go adopt an easier case? Be done, move on with your life. Let them figure it out some day, and then someone else will be able to adopt her.

Sounds cold huh? It is cold. But see our relationship is only a couple photos and a few gift bags, right?

And 18 months of praying and thinking and talking and waiting and hoping and emotional investing and ...

How can it be, that this one, this girl, Mame, is the one when we have never met? Why not someone else?

I don't know. But she is. It's Mame, and its hard.

I do not trust man. Sorry, I have heard too many sad, sad stories, gotten too much bad news, conflicting news and changing stories, to trust man.

So do I trust God? YES! I do. Without a second's thought. But the challenge is not in trusting God, it is in knowing what God will do. for reason's beyond my knowing God moves and does and doesn't do things that seem to logical thought something that He would do. (or wouldn't).

So, although I know God is with me. I know God has been along this journey each step and that nothing surprizes him in the least, I don't know what He knows and has planned on the outcome. He may have the hardest day ahead of me yet. I do not know.

But I have never seen: just quit, give up, walk around crabby, be despressed, as a choice on His path.

So I go in, hand poised to turn the calendar from August to September (again), not waiting on a court date, not waiting on the rains to stop (am I?), not waiting on the courts to reopen, but waiting on I don't know what and waiting on God to reveal what's next.

And a little girl, Mame, still has a home and a momma and a little sister and two big brothers and a Nanny and a Papa and a sometimes naughty puppy all waiting for her. Still.

I

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Praying for an 8 year old.




My heart goes out to Linny and her family, as they have waited 18 months for dear Jubilee and now have crushing news. Nothing is impossible for our God.




Will you join in prayer with them?

Monday, August 24, 2009

a blessing


to wake up each day and pray for you
to bring your name before God each night
to talk to Jesus about you,
he who has walked beside you all day, when I cannot
that is a blessing.
Favor, hope and protection to you today, dear Mame, blessings.
amen

Friday, August 21, 2009

I love Linny's heart for God!


Be free, be free.....I just love what Linny posted today on her blog about adopting.
YOU MUST READ IT! here
She is speaking the heart of God. Be free and pursue it!
Yes Lord. Yes! Send me~

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Nothing to say.....


So why post? I don't know. I am tired of that old post sitting there. Nothing new. No progress or if there is progress, no communication of it....so I doubt no progress.


I have been getting a lot of new pictures of her. She looks so much bigger, grown up. Her 8th birthday is less than a month away. Her second birthday spent in the orphanage, waiting....


(wow. I sound like I am whining).


Ok...I will add a pretty picture to look at and shutup.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Close to my Heart....


I have to show you this really cute necklace that Heather, who has an Etsy.com shop, Found and Made, is making for me!! I found out about her when reading a blog I follow by Emily (Life is Beautiful) and her sharing about a necklace Heather made her. So I found Heather's shop on Etsy and saw these darling scrabble charms she makes... It has a map on one side and a scrabble letter on the other. So first she made one with a map of Ethiopia that shows Addis Ababa and on the back the letter M for Mame. Then I had her make one with Qing Dao City China on one side and Q ( for my little princess Qing Qing aka Mary Beth) on the other...and then I thought, well I need to include the boys...so next came Folsom, Ca and T for Tadpole and Sacramento, CA and N for Nickerbocker.
How totally cute is that??!!!! She showed me two different ways she could string on a chain with beads or on a cord..... I love them both, especially the colors of the beads, but I think I will be able to wear the brown with more things.
They are darling, no? She can make you one too!! She will only do custom orders through Sept, then she is getting ready for Christmas.
So so cute, and she is nice. So I will be carrying my four loves around my neck, close to my heart.
I read about a dear sweet momma to be, who lost her referral today, because the relative that relinquished her son-to-be, could not be found. So said. and it scares me about Mame. But I know I am trusting in God and not man. I just want Mame to have a hope and a future and not live her life in an orphanage. Holding on and praying. This will be my prayer necklace...I will hold each tile and pray for that child.





Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Bittersweet...

Update: Today C (who is a momma over there right now) told me: "Mame said thanks for the gifts she loves you and when are you coming.?" My heart aches! Lord, when AM I coming????

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My heart longs for her....

Reports from two mommies recently in Ethiopia who visited with Mame:


"Sandee, Mame is very shy at first, but I showed {her} how to play some hand games, like Slide, and she laughed so hard and had so much fun. She is so mature...when I met {my daughter} she was coaching her through the process and telling her what to say and do, it brought tears to my eyes because she surely is the big sister there to all the little girls."

"Unfortunately the English speaker was not there when we left the package. She, Mame, appeared confused at first when I handed her the package but then I said America Momma and she lit up... Mame is very animated and extremely graceful. She is such a stunning girl. She seemed to be very at ease with herself and around other people and she really liked the pez candy dispenser once I showed her how it worked."

I got to see a video of her getting her package from us and opening it...and one of the mom's told me she looks like she is 6 or 7, no older than 8. Which is perfect, as her paperwork says she will turn 8 next month.

I carry an ache/fear....that the guardian relinquishment issue/paperwork will never be resolved and my daughter will live her life in an orphanage. Surely not! Please pray with me.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pink Palms, Black Paws.....


In the wait...
Last night the kids and I made a sign/banner for Mame. We each used colored stamping pads to put our handprints around the words, "We love you, Mame". I used red, which, even after a bath, has left my hands blushing pink. Even our Morkie, Bella, had her paws stamped black, and added pawprints to the sign. Then each family member signed their name next to their handprints. (Except Bella, of course, I signed for her.)
We plan to take a picture of all of us holding it, then send the picture and sign off to Mame with one of the families traveling to the orphanage.
We are focusing on what will be, on our heart connection, and not on the delays.



















































Monday, July 27, 2009

Way up in North Ethiopia....



Someone asks: "What's the news with Olivia? (Mame)"

Today I answer: "Not good news"

  • She is too old to be processed in the Addis Ababa courts as abandoned. (No one 8 years old or older will be processed as abandoned. How sad for children who are abandoned at that age.)

The uncle who relinquished her in Addis, is no where to be found after 8 months of waiting).

Her village, is way up North, closest city is Gondar. It cannot be reached during the rainy season. (Ends perhaps sometime in October).

The attorney left instructions and fees with someone (???) somewhere (???) to try to get the paperwork complete.

The local courts?? government?? police?? not sure, from Mame's village, area will need to verify that she is relinquished with a piece of paper... I think. I am so unclear. I don't know if an existing family member has to be found in her village, or if the local authorities have to attempt that, and then declare her abandoned, and since she is abandoned in her village and not Addis, then it is ok. I don't know.

What I do know is not to expect anything any time soon. And I highly doubt in 2009, but that may be my "upsetness" speaking.

I may wait a couple days and try to ask again, to understand. All I know is the attorney's trip did not get her the paper she desired. We cannot move forward at this time, and the rainy season is impacting it as well.

It is funny, odd funny, interesting funny, not ha ha funny. You can get so attached to a little girl, through pictures and written anecdotes, that she is YOURS in your heart. There is no way, even after 16 months of waiting, that you can just stop and walk away. I know some folks looking in might say, why not just go adopt someone else, who is ready (paperwise)....

But Mame is my daughter....my children's sister....And I do not like the delays, (she doesn't either.. I was told today, she even asks the attorney at Hope, what is happening with her case)... but they are what they are...to be endured.

And God knows this. I do not know the right timing, but He does. So I live with more delays.

That is what is happening with Mame.

(This photo was taken by a traveler in Simien National Park, right next to Gonder in the Amhara region, where Mame is from).

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pray, pray , pray, pray, pray, pray......


Sometimes things just happen the hard way. So I am asking you to pray with me to pull this thing on through!
I got word today from my adoption agency, that the attorney in Addis Ababa, who handles all our court cases and paper work, is on this very day in the Mame's region of the country (birth region) trying to get her paperwork finished. That it is a 2 or 3 day trip from Addis, and she should be back Friday night or Saturday morning!
Pray her favor and smooth sailing....and blessings to boot. I am sure her hands are so full, and taking a few days out to handle Mame's case is so loving of her. Favor and blessing, oh Lord, favor and blessing!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Have a cup of coffee in the valley...


Between the peaks of getting a referral and having all my paperwork complete, and the mini-peaks for various court date expectancies, and sitting open at court, and...
between all those peaks.....are valleys. And from a birds eye view, I might see the true perspective of one long valley from last July until..some future date when I pass court.
So come have a cup of Java with me in this valley.
I just found out news today, that the ban on abandonment cases being lifted, was not what I was truly waiting for. That Mame still needs some paperwork from the local authorities in the region where she was born. This particular paperwork quest was started in February...three month before the ban was imposed. Next week, the lawyer at Hope in Ethiopia is going to Mame's city of origin to try to get the paper work complete. (bless her with favor Lord, and bless her for caring enough for this ONE case, one little girl, out of so many, to take the time.)
So, I know my wait will be longer than I was not expecting. (Odd phrase..I should have been expecting shorter, but really don't expect anything any more, other than one day it will happen. )
So in this long valley...the changing of my mood/perspective has changed the view of this valley. It has offered time for growth (spiritual emotional) to my family here, waiting. Being far better adjusted now to take on a new family member, than back in Nov 2008, and still seeing how we need to grow. Better school-wise. (three of the four will be at the same school now, rather than three different schools).... Better health-wise (will have some surgeries out of the way, that could have been hard on Mame to be with momma, then have momma be in the hospital)....and even a time of being "family alone" as our au pair leaves in August and it will be just me and the kids for awhile. My kids have taken on chores and are helping around the house now. My eyes have been opened to the comsummer bug, and we are eradicating him form our life as much as possible..... so many good things in this valley.
And now, knowing the valley will again be longer, and the travel money being gobbled up by two major car repairs, school uniforms, and other unexpected budget biters,....I have more time to re-save the money which will bring Olivia Mame home.
The wear and tear on my heart in the valley is less now. My heart is not so frenzied, my emotions not so raw.
I cannot truly understand Mame's heart in all this. I know it is hard seeing other kids go. Even though they are going to an unknown...a dream. Sometimes the loss or delay of the dream is far more painful than the reality. So I know this valley has been extremely long for her. On the other hand, she does not know us, the reality of us, just the thought and photo of us. No way to comprehend WHY it has been 16 months of waiting, no realization that it HAS been that long, for her I am sure. I pray for God to give her hope, joy and comfort...and to prepare her heart for transition...some day.
So when folks ask me, I tell you...I do not know. I am hoping Mame will be home in 2009, my mind thinks, SURELY she will. But I do not know.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Good news from a distant land...

"Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land." Prov 25:25


Good news today from Ethiopia. Our agency said they just got word that the courts did take all the abandonment cases today, and will be issuing court dates for them soon. That it is possible that the courts may start hearing abandonment cases as early as this Thursday!!!
Can you believe it?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

NO news....


So here is our "no news". Not from our agency, but from another agency. They stated the decision announcement on the abandonment cases (and hold) is not being shared today, as we all thought, but on July 2nd.
So that is our no news.... Hoping on that date they do not just announce their decision/outcome, but also the plan for all the backlog of cases.
More time to wait for news. ....
BEST case scenerio right now (ie impossible to happen), would be travel at the third or fourth week in August. I think it will be more like Sept.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Longing for my little girl!

be missing my girl...even though we have never met! I have heard things about her these past couple weeks, little peeks into her personality and I am SOOOOOO ready to bring her home. It has been about 15 months, since I sent her the first (and only ) photo album of her American family, so I made a new one this weekend. The other was just snapshots in a little 4 x 6 photo folder you can buy at target. I decided to dess it up a bit this time. SO I made her a little scrapbook photo album. My thumb is over the first picture, which is her, because I cannot show you her picture, but you can see the rest. Each page has a tab with a letter on it. M A M E...spells Mame, (mauh - may). And I am sending with the next families traveling in July!
We miss you Mame! Soon, I hope, soon!


The Tabs Front Cover



Back Cover