Friday, January 27, 2012

Reminding Myself of God's Faithfulness

My heart has been so heavy lately. I feel a little bit helpless in this wait. I wish there was something I could do to speed up the process of bringing home our daughter. I keep thinking that all I can do is pray. Just this morning I was convicted of the way I think about prayer. I say, "it's all I can do" implying that it isn't much. As if talking to the creator of the universe and bringing my daughter before Her maker is not a big deal.

I pray the Lord will forgive me for my attitude. He has been so faithful to answer our prayers along the way. He is reminding me daily of the specific prayers He has answered. I want to list just a few here.

1. My friend told me this summer that the Lord was showing her to be more specific when she prayed. She said she was praying that we would receive a referral by November. At the time our waitlist number was in the teens for siblings and 50s for a girl. I thought it was sweet of her to pray for this, but in my mind I thought there was no way that could possibly happen. Well, we officially accepted our referral on October 3rd.

2. I prayed daily for over a month that Mia would be able to move from her previous orphanage to our agencies transition home. I became really weary in my prayers and felt like the Lord was urging me to ask others to pray as well. Another dear friend said she felt like God wanted her to start a 24 hour prayer chain for Mia. People from all over the country prayed for our daughter and by the next day she was moved to her new home. Amazing!! You can read about that here.

3. I don't think I have shared this on the blog yet, but our daughter has a history of seizures. Every morning I pray that she will not have a seizure that day and that God will keep her healthy and safe. She has not had one seizure since at least August. She has also not been sick since we accepted our referral in October. Anyone who has a child in an orphanage, or really has a child at all, knows this is pretty amazing. Our agency has to inform us any time she is sick and we have not received one call this entire time. Praise the Lord for this miracle. I continue to pray and believe that she will never have another seizure in her life!!!

4. We prayed that she would be receptive to us when we met her for the first time last month. The first time I met her she ran into my arms, said "mama" and gave me a kiss on the cheek. Need I say more??

This list could go on and on. I know that God has not answered every single prayer the way I want Him to. I know that even though I am praying our file will not be sent to Nairobi, that it still may be sent there. I know that I could get a call today telling me our daughter is sick. None of this will negate how faithful our God is. He wants his children to come to Him, to present our requests to him.

Justin and I were talking about how we want our own children to "use their words" and tell us what they want instead of just cry or sulk about what they don't have. It doesn't mean we will always give them what they want, but we always want them to come to us and tell us. We give them what we feel is best for them. Our Heavenly Father also wants us to come to him and tell Him what we want.

So many days I start to worry and I feel the Lord saying to me, "Just talk to me about it. Just tell me how you feel."

This time my friend told me she is specifically praying that Mia Grace will be in our arms by Valentine's Day. I have other friends who are joining her in this prayer. If you feel led, you can pray this with us.

Oh, how I hope God answers that prayer, but even if He doesn't we trust and know that He has our daughter in the palm of His hands.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Latest

So the question I hear most often these days is, "have you heard anything?" Usually, the answer is, "no, still waiting." While, we are still waiting, we did hear something yesterday.

We finally received our first e-mail from the embassy! They wrote us and our agency to request the phone number of someone involved in our daughter's case. We very much expected this. This has been pretty normal lately. We were very happy to see that our case is moving forward.

The director of Hannah's Hope replied back with a number, but not the number they requested. Apparently, she did not have any contact info for the person they were looking for. This does make me a little nervous, but I am praying they are able to find out whatever info they are looking for to clear the case.

I spoke with our caseworker yesterday, who reminded me, that there is a pretty good chance our file will go to Nairobi. In the last couple of months or so, the U.S. embassy in Addis Ababa (where our file is now) has been sending some cases to the embassy in Nairobi for further review. Although, this is not the end of the world, this is not our ideal situation. It will add weeks onto an already lengthy process.

Our caseworker said we should hear something in about a week from the embassy. I will not be surprised if we hear that our case is being sent to Nairobi, but I am not giving up hope. Please join us in praying that the embassy will get every bit of info they need to clear our case from the contact they will interview.

Our daughter has been in an orphanage for close to 3 years now. I am praying that she will get to come home as soon as possible. All of this waiting and uncertainty is so hard on my heart, but I know God is near.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Our sweet friends hosted a shower this weekend for Mia Grace. We continue to be amazed by the generosity of our friends and church family. It was a very special shower and we feel so very loved. It overwhelms me to think about how much our daughter is already loved and cared for.
Of course, no shower would be complete without lots of yummy food.
I can honestly say I have never opened so many pink packages before.
It was so much fun to open all of the cute, girly gifts like these adorable little Toms from my sister- in- law. I can't wait to see these on Mia's cute feet.
I'm so thankful for all of these women in this picture. They threw a beautiful shower.
I am also really thankful for these two women, my mom and grandma. I'm so glad they were able to come to the shower. My mother-in-law and sis-in-law were there too and I hate that I didn't get a picture with them before they left to drive back to Texas.
We are so blessed by all of our family and friends. Being at the shower reminded me why we wanted to adopt a child in the very beginning. We are so incredibly blessed by the love of so many people. It broke our heart to think about the millions of children who don't have a family. Justin and I knew that we wanted to change that for a child, so we started the adoption process.

We said from day 1 that we were adopting because God adopted us. We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19

I am so thankful that our Mia Grace will soon know the love of a family.

She now has grandparents, aunts, and uncles who can't wait to spoil her with lots of love. She has brothers who think she is the most beautiful girl in the world. Just yesterday, Sawyer told me, "Mia is the most beautiful girl in the whole world. Even if I had three more sisters I would think she was the most beautiful." I almost felt sorry for her three imaginary sisters.

She will know what it is like to be a part of a church family who has prayed for her every step of the way.

I pray most of all that one day she will know the love of her Heavenly Father, the one who created love in the first place. I pray she will know what it is like to be adopted into His family. I am so thankful that we were the ones God chose to teach her about His amazing love.

Today I feel so loved. I pray our girl feels loved today, too.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

so close, yet still so far away

One month ago today we met our beautiful daughter. We spent four wonderful days with her before we had to say goodbye. It was so hard to say goodbye, not knowing when we would see her again. I was hopeful that we would be back in about a month or maybe a little more.

As we approach a month since we left, we still have no idea when we will return to Ethiopia. There are still several potential things that can delay us even more. I am sure I have said this before, I probably sound like a broken record by now, but this part of the wait is so hard.

One part of me feels like I need to get on the ball and make all the preparations we need for our second trip and for bringing home our daughter. I still have a long to-do list and I know that if I got a call tomorrow saying we needed to book a flight, after I shouted with joy, I would be running around like a crazy person.

I told myself that after we were submitted to embassy, I would get busy on tackling the to-do list, but trip two still feels so far away in my mind. I don't know if the reality of all of this will sink in until we are actually leaving Hannah's Hope with her in our arms.

Every day I pray that the embassy will clear us and all the other waiting families very soon. Some moments I feel very hopeful and confident that we will go in a couple of weeks. Other moments I feel like I don't need to get my hopes up. It's such a strange place to be and I really don't like it.

Thankfully, I am not alone. God has never left me or my daughter. He never promised this would be easy, just that He would never leave us or forsake us.

All this being said, dear prayer warriors, we still need your prayers. The Lord has answered all of us in mighty ways and I know He will continue to. Please keep praying!! I grow weary sometimes, but I take heart, knowing we have so many people praying for sweet Mia Grace.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sneak Peek of Mia's Room

We have been getting ready for our little girl to come home. We still don't have any word on when that will be, but we have been staying busy preparing her room. We still have a few things to do, but here is a little sneak peek. Justin painted the room before we left. This isn't a great pic, but I love the color of her walls. It is called barely teal. The bedding came from my friend Megan. We will also put up a pack and play, since she is used to sleeping in a crib. I had fun getting her shelves ready.
This is my favorite shelf. The Ethiopian doll and book came from Target. Everything else is from Ethiopia.
On Friday, Megan helped me paint some things for Mia's room. The boys also helped create some things for their sister's room. They were so proud and I think they came out really cute.
Now we just need to hang everything on the wall.
These cute little birdies match the bedding. Megan painted them. It's all coming together nicely. I hope sweet Mia Grace likes her new bedroom.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Our File is at the Embassy

We found out today that our file was submitted to the U.S. embassy. We were very happy to hear this news. Our agency submits files on Mondays or Tuesdays, if there is a holiday. So, we knew if we didn't hear anything today we would have to wait a whole week before hearing anything. Justin and I prayed before going to bed last night that we would get the good news today.

We still don't know when we actually get to travel back to Ethiopia. We could be cleared in 2 or 3 weeks or 2 or 3 months. We would obviously prefer a few weeks, so please join us in praying for things to go smoothly with our case.

We need to start packing and planning for our daughter to come home soon. At the same time, we have to prepare our hearts that we could still have a long wait of us ahead. It's a hard place to be in.

We trust the Lord and know that without a doubt His timing has been perfect so far. Not exactly as we always wanted, but perfect, just the same. He has seen us through so much and we continue to put all of our trust in Him, not in the U.S. government, not in our agency, not in ourselves, but in our great God.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Melkam Gena and a Christmas Recap

So, I was going to post this yesterday, but I fell asleep as the pics were loading last night. January 7th is the day that Ethiopians celebrate the birth of Christ so Melkam Gena means Merry Christmas. We didn't celebrate Ethiopian Christmas this year, unless you count working all day on house projects to get ready to bring our little Ethiopian home celebrating. We plan to incorporate some traditions into our home next year.

I also realized that I never posted anything about our Christmas, so now seems as good a time as any. Better late than never, right? We arrived home on the Wednesday night before Christmas. When we were several hours from home my stomach started feeling awful and it didn't really feel better until December 28th. I learned one way to avoid holiday weight gain is to take a trip to Africa right before the holidays.

So, this was just a strange Christmas for me. I was exhausted, didn't feel well, and I had just left my youngest child in Africa. We had a good Christmas, but it was just different. I also didn't take many pictures at all.

Friday Justin's brother and his wife, Kelsey came to stay with us for a couple of days. His sister also came. It was good visiting with them. They brought the boys these super cute Angry Birds hats.
Jax liked helping me open my gifts.
Aunt Kelsey giving Sawyer some love. I just noticed how odd the dog looks. I think he was trying to jump on the couch.
Mia got a few gifts too that night. Here is Jax showing off his little sister's dress.
The next night was Christmas Eve. We went to Justin's grandparents' house to be with all of his family. I think this is the only decent pic I got on Christmas Eve. Sawyer cuddling with his aunt Kelsey and Uncle Jon. In case you are reading and don't know, my husband has an identical twin. I wouldn't want you to think he has his hand on some other woman's leg. =)
I am ashamed to say that I left my camera at Justin's grandparents house, so I don't have one single picture from Christmas morning. We had a good Christmas morning with our boys. It was just the 4 of us most of Christmas day, so after church we took the boys to see Happy Feet 2. Then we celebrated with a pizza party for Jesus's birthday.

Here are some of the gifts little Miss Mia Grace got this year. Uncle Jon and Aunt Kelsey got this frame for us to put our first picture together in. I just love Uncle Jon's art work!
Justin picked out this sweet rag doll for our Mia Grace. I can't wait to give it to her. I hope she likes it!
Justin and Jon's birthday is the day after Christmas. We celebrated with a delicious dinner at Kelsey's parent's house and then we all went bowling. You would think I would have a picture of the birthday boys, but no, just a picture of Jax and Aunt Samantha at the bowling alley.
So, this is the update from our jet lagged Christmas. It was simple, but it was a good time with family and thanking God for sending His son, Jesus.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Praise Him

Today, I have been missing my daughter a ton. I miss her everyday, but today was hard and I don't know why. I do know that I had a good cry in my car in the grocery store parking lot. The waiting and not knowing when she will be home is so hard. There are still a lot of things that need to happen before we hear that we can go bring her home. I am so ready to hear that things are at least moving along.

I don't want this post to be a sad one, though. There are hard days in adoption, but I praise the Lord everyday because He has allowed us to adopt our daughter.

Before Justin and I were even married we talked about adoption. After we were married and looked into adoption, we decided we would adopt internationally one day when we had enough money saved. In 2009 we knew that we still wanted to adopt and decided we needed to come up with a plan to make that happen. 2009 is also the year our daughter was born in Ethiopia. I don't think it's a coincidence. I just think God was at work.

We came up with a plan. The plan was when Jax was old enough to start preschool I would go back to work and we would continue to live on Justin's sallary. We would save all of my income so that we could pay for an adoption. We thought that sounded like a good plan. I still don't think there is anything at all wrong with that plan. The only problem was it wasn't God's plan for us. As we started looking into country programs and adoption agencies, we knew the Lord didn't want us to wait until we had "enough" money. We knew He wanted us to start then.

We met many adoptive parents who told us that if God was calling us to adopt then He would provide the money. We decided that we would cut back where we could, take some out of savings, and trust God for the rest.

Let me just tell you, all of those people were right. We trusted God to provide and He has provided all we need and more!! We have been blessed by the obedience and generosity of His people. We have been amazed again and again by the perfect timing of our Heavenly Father. When we started the adoption, we decided that above all else, we desired for the Lord to be glorified in our lives. No matter how things turned out, we wanted God to get the glory.

We know without a doubt that God provided everything we needed to bring our daughter, a little girl He created in His image, home. The Lord provided in various ways, but most recently, we were given an opportunity to receive a matching grant with Brittany's Hope. We had to raise $5,000 in order to receive the matching $5,000. We found out today that we met our grant and we will receive $10,000 for our adoption expenses. Praise the Lord!

God has provided every step of the way, but it doesn't mean there haven't been bumps in the road. Just today we had to replace our entire heating and cooling unit in our home. It was not cheap!! We did not expect this and the timing seems awful. If this would have happened 2 years ago, I would have been crying and wondering how we would pay for it. I was tempted to do this yesterday, but I know that it isn't a surprise to the Lord and that He has been so faithful. I can't do anything else, but thank Him for the way He has provided. We have had unexpected car trouble, house repairs, and medical expenses. Those things have not been fun, but we have learned that our God is greater than the troubles of life.

We are firm believers that if God calls you to something, He will provide a way!

Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34: 3-4

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Before Justin and I knew that Mia M was our daughter, we were praying for her. We were seeking the Lord and asking him if the sweet little girl who we knew very little about was the child he had picked out for our family. One day as I was driving and praying a butterfly flew in front of my car. In that moment, I felt the Lord speak to my heart and tell me that He was with our daughter and that He was transforming her. I knew in that moment that the Lord wanted to transform Mia M from an orphan to a daughter.

Soon after this, we officially accepted the referral for our daughter. During the months leading up to our first trip to Ethiopia, I seemed to see butterflies everywhere I went. Every time I see a butterfly I pray for our daughter. I am reminded that the Lord is transforming her. I know He is changing me as well.

When Mia was moved to Hannah's Hope, she was put in the "butterfly room." She has butterflies painted on the walls in her room. I think it is very fitting.
This is a picture of the wall in her room. When we met our daughter we were amazed at how different she was from what we were told about her. We were expecting a very shy, scared, and reserved little girl. This is not at all what we saw and we were pleasantly surprised. We were told that when she first arrived at Hannah's Hope she was scared of everyone especially the men. Now, she walks around giving hugs and kisses to all of the workers. She is so loving to everyone she sees. The Lord is working in our daughter's life and it is such a blessing to witness!

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Phil 1:6

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Years Interview 2012

Happy New Year. Interviewing my children at the beginning of each year has become a tradition for us. This is the third year for me to do this. It is really fun to see what things have changed and what has stayed the same. The boys really enjoy doing this and I love that I have a record of their thoughts and favorite things from each year. You can read the last two years here and here. The first one I ever did was when they were 2 and 3 and it's hilarious to go back and read now.

This year Sawyer is 5.5 and Jaxon is 4. Without further ado, here is our 2012 interview.

What is your name? S: Sawyer J:Jaxon
When w
ere you born? S:March 26th J:September
How old are you? S:5 J:3
Who is your mommy? S:laughed and said, "uh, you." (duh mom) J: Meredith!
Who is your daddy? S:Justin J: Justin
What does your Mommy do? S: teaches J: cleans up
What do you love about Mommy? S: that she loves me J: When I give her hugs and kisses (he said the same thing las year. my boy loves his hugs and kisses.)
What does your daddy do? S: works with mics and stuff (he is a media director at our church) J:works at church
What do you love about Daddy? S:that he plays Mario with me J: give him hugs and kisses too
What is your favorite color? S:Blue J: Green and blue
What do you want to be when you grow up? S: a policeman and a builder J: the incredible hulk
What is your favorite food? S Macaroni and cheese and corn dogs J: chicken legs and jello
What food do you not like? S: some kinds of chicken J: chicken legs with sauce
What is your favorite animal? S: monkeys J: tigers and gorillas
Where do you want to live when you grow up? S:at this same house with Mommy and Daddy J:here at this house (our future looks grim. at least we will be well protected by our police officer and incredible hulk.)
What do mommy and daddy do after you go to bed? S: watch movies J: walk around (this answer cracks me up)
What is your favorite song? S: Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer J:The People of Wal-Mart (Please don't judge me for this one. My sister-in-law showed them this video last week and he hasn't stopped singing it. Thankfully, the only words he remembers are "we are the people of wal-mart." BTW, I don't recommend showing this video to your preschooler. Like I said, don't judge me.=) )
What is your favorite movie? S: Cars and Cars 2 J: Incredible Hulk and Captain America (he has never seen either of these movies. when I asked him why he chose movies he had never seen he said, "These will be my favorite movies when I am big and watch them.")
What is your favorite kind of ice cream? S: strawberry J: chocolate and banilla
Where is your favorite place to eat? S: McDonalds J: McDonalds and Chuck E. Cheese
Who is your favorite person? S: Chuck E. Cheese (Last year his favorite person was me. I have to say I am a little sad that I have been demoted by a mouse. ) J: Max and Andrew
Who is your best friend? S:Tristan, Wesley, Dillon, Kaleb, and Jolie J: Ruston, my favorite baby
What is your favorite toy? S: Wii Games J: My Incredible Hulk toy that I loosed
What is your favorite book? S: Arthur's Christmas J:my new ones I got for Christmas
Who is your brother? S: Jaxon J: Sawyer, that was an easy one
What do you like to do with your brother? S: play Wii games J: play Mario
What is your favorite thing to do? S:Play Wii games J: play Mario
What does your brother like to do? S: Play Wii games (Do you see a trend?) J: get presents
I added a couple of new questions this year.
Who is your sister? S:Mia, but she is not here yet. J:Baby Mia, my pretty girl (I love this sweet answer)
What will you like to do with your sister when she gets home? S: play with her J: take bubble baths
What is your favorite thing you did in 2011? S: swimming (I'm surprised he didn't say play wii games) J: do fireworks with Jolie, Sarah, and Ruston, my buddy

2011 was a great year. It was the year the Lord led us to our daughter. It was the year we got to meet her and legally become a family of 5. Now, we are looking forward to 2012. Next year I will have three little ones to interview. Happy New Year to you and yours!