"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." Proverbs 16:9

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas, my precious baby boy!

Oh, sweet boy. I miss you so much. I am just aching and longing to bring you home. Yesterday I heard the song, "I'll be Home for Christmas," and I just melted. I thought for sure that you would be home with us by now. Celebrating this Christmas without you here has been so difficult, because we are not a complete family without you.

We kept you close to our hearts and minds and included you in all of our Christmas traditions this year. But we're really looking forward to next year when you're here to see it all for yourself!

You got a new ornament on the tree.

We baked cookies for Santa in the shape of Africa because your sisters wanted to make sure Santa remembered to visit you, too!

We hung FOUR stockings up on the mantel this year! See that cute little penguin on the end? That one's yours!!

You even had presents under the tree... some from family, some from friends, and even some from Santa! None of them have been opened yet. We'll let you do that when you get home!

This morning when I woke up, my heart was so heavy because you weren't home with us to celebrate Christmas, and I was missing you terribly. I checked my e-mail and found that I had 17 new pictures and a video of you waiting in my inbox. They were all of you opening the Christmas care package we sent to you. It was my best Christmas present! It was not the same as having you here, but it sure was nice to see your beautiful face on Christmas morning!

Merry Christmas, Elias. I am so glad this is the last one we'll spend apart!

I love you!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Care Package

This care package is being delivered to Elias during the week of Christmas by our friends the Chambers family. We are so excited that they will be visiting their daughter during Christmas, and are able to take a present to Elias too!

We sent Elias blue snowman jammies to match what his sisters will be wearing on Christmas morning. (Theirs are pink!) We also sent him a musical toy that has been a favorite of all three of our girls, so we knew we wanted to get one for him too. Finally, we chose this recordable book for him. Charlie and I took turns reading the pages so that he could hear our voices for the first time!

We are so excited that this is our last care package being delivered to Elias by someone other than us! We are in the next travel group to Ethiopia, so his next care package will be hand-delivered to him by his mommy and daddy!!

A Picture of Hope

In June, we were matched with our precious sponsor child, Webit. She is a seven year old little girl who is enrolled at the Trees of Glory care center in Ethiopia. Through our sponsorship, she is now receiving nutritious meals each day, an education, medical attention, and Christian discipleship.

This is the first picture we saw of her. We immediately fell in love with her, but were saddened by the longing in her eyes and the fact that she wasn't smiling. We have prayed for her every single day and are so grateful that we are able to play a role in her life.

Last month, the sponsor coordinator for Trees of Glory, Karen Wistrom, and her team of volunteers visited Trees of Glory and offered to take care packages to all of the children from their sponsor families. The girls and I had such a great time picking out items for Webit's care package... a new shirt, some chapstick and hair ties, a toothbrush and toothpaste, new sunglasses, and pictures and a letter from our family to her. We were so excited to send our love to her and to help her understand how much we care for her and pray for her.

We were thrilled to see these new pictures of our girl!! Look at that smile! Look at the hope in her eyes!! We are so honored to be a part of her life and feel blessed that God is using us to show her the love of Christ.

There are still children at the Trees of Glory care center waiting and hoping for sponsors. If you are interested in sponsoring one of these children and helping to forever change their lives, please contact Karen Wistrom by clicking here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Care Package #3

Our third care package to Elias was a group effort! Charlie (obviously!!) picked out the outfit for our son. How cute to see our little Ethiopian cheering for the Colts! The girls picked out some Weeble Wobbles for him, and I picked out the little security blanket for him. Thank you so much to the Adkins family for spending some time with our son, loving on him, and delivering our care package!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

November Update

At the end of each month, our adoption agency sends out updates. These are a wonderful lifeline to our son, and include lots of great information on him, physically, emotionally, developmentally, etc. We were beyond excited to receive ours this month and to learn more about our little one and his daily life in the Transition Home.

Here were some of the highlights...
  • He has gained 5 pounds since coming to the transition home!!
  • He takes 6 ounces of formula, five times a day ( I really am so glad that he still takes bottles, because I think that will be a great way for us to bond with him.) He is also eating pasta, rice, cereal, porridge, fruits, and vegetables.
  • He understands and obeys simple commands like come, go, bring this, etc.
  • He is described as happy and playful. : )
We also get the opportunity to ask the nannies five questions each month. Here are a few of our questions and their answers...
  • Is G* speaking any words yet? He says "ema" in Amharic, which means mommy. (Melt my heart!!)
  • How would you describe G's personality? He is happy, content, easy going, sometimes quiet and reserved. (Have you met our other kids? What a perfect fit for our family!!)
  • What is G's daily schedule? He wakes up at 6am, he eats solid food 4 times during the day and formula 5 times. He takes a nap during the afternoon. He plays with the nannies and other kids when he is awake. He gets bathed in the evening, takes his bottle, and sleeps through the night.
  • If G* is sad or upset, what helps make him feel better? He feels better when he is cuddled or when he gets what he wants. (Ha!)
We also got three new pictures of our little sweetie!! He was running, laughing, and being silly in all three of them! He looked like a perfect, happy little boy!! We just continue to fall more and more in love with this precious child and are so anxious to finally meet him ourselves!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Helpless and Hopeful

On Wednesday, November 10, I was sitting in the carpool line waiting to pick our daughter up from preschool when I got an e-mail from our family coordinator informing us that Elias had malaria. I immediately called Charlie, but wasn't even able to get all of the information across to him because I was crying so hard. My heart was completely broken for my son. I was worried about this disease that I knew so little about, but more than anything I felt completely helpless. I wanted so badly to hold him, comfort him, and do everything mommies do when their babies are sick. I knew he was being well cared for in our agency's transition home, but it didn't do much to relieve my helplessness and worry for him. We called our pediatrician right away and also began doing research online.

Malaria is not normally seen in the capital city, Addis Ababa, so our guess is that Elias had it before coming to the transition home. Malaria can be fatal if not treated with medication, and we are so grateful that God allowed Elias to be in the transition home during this time, so that the proper care and medication were available to him. I hate the thought of our precious boy laying there suffering without his mommy and daddy. I am glad for the doctors, nurses, and nannies who took such good care of him, but I wish it had been us. I want so badly to bring him home.

Many, many prayers were said on behalf of our little one, and we are incredibly grateful. On Wednesday, November 17, we got an update that Elias was cured of his malaria and is now completely healthy! Thank you, Lord for holding our son in the palm of Your hand and caring for him way more than I ever could! My heart is filled with joy and praise!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Care Package #2

This care package came straight from a Daddy's heart to his son. It is so sweet to see Charlie preparing his heart and our home for a son. He is madly in love with this little boy, and I cannot wait to see them together!

Thank you so much Alleca family for offering to take this care package for us and for sharing our love with our son. We appreciate it and feel so blessed knowing you will soon be holding him in your arms.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tickets, Shots, and Two Steps Closer...

This morning Charlie, Emma, and I went to visit the international travel clinic at Riley. We all showed up expecting lots of vaccines, but only Charlie and I needed them. Turns out Emma was completely caught up on all of hers and didn't need a single one... she was thrilled!! Charlie and I, on the other hand, needed five a piece and have to return for two more. Ouch! Our arms are so sore. (After shot two, I started chanting in my head, "all for baby brother, all for baby brother, all for baby brother...") So tough, I know! We will all be taking the oral typhoid this week, and then we should be ready to go!

We also booked our flights this afternoon! We are leaving on January 14 and will return home on January 22. The thought of being this much closer to meeting our son is an incredible feeling! I cannot wait to hold him in my arms. I am praying that the holidays will help the time between now and then fly by! We are coming as soon as we can little one!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Court Date!

We have a court date!! The travel coordinator from AWAA called us this morning to share the good news. Like every Wednesday morning, I was out having breakfast with three of my girlfriends when the call came. It was so fun to have them with me when I learned that I would be meeting my son for the first time... on January 18!!

This date is later than we had hoped for, but we are still so excited to actually have a date! (Our agency said that they, too, were surprised at the later court date, but figured its because of the backlog that still exists from the recent court closures and also because Ethiopia celebrates their Christmas holiday on January 7.) We can now start planning flights and itineraries and begin the countdown to the day we are holding Elias in our arms... 70 days from now!!!

I told Charlie earlier today that I was on Cloud Nine with the news of our court date, and he countered that he was on Cloud Twelve! We are thrilled to be this much closer to making Elias legally, officially and forever a Herwehe!

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Match Made in Heaven

When we originally felt God calling us adopt, He was not calling us to adopt ANY orphan. He was calling us adopt THIS orphan, our son. God did not speak to our hearts in a general way, suggesting adoption might be a good idea for our family. He spoke to us specifically, loudly, without ceasing, that our child was waiting for us in Ethiopia. He has known from the beginning of time that little Elias G* was meant to be our son.

He set our path to lead directly to him. Some steps in our journey were quicker than we expected and others took so much longer than we ever dreamed, but it was all to lead us at just the right moment, to this very child.

There were three of us from our adoption agency that shared a DTE date of March 26. All three of us were also requesting baby boys. I often wondered what it would be like if we all met up together in Ethiopia. Would we see our babies and know that they were certainly meant to be ours or would we look at each other's babies and think about the "what ifs?" That's the funny thing about international adoption because you certainly wouldn't ever have such thoughts about biological children. So, from the very beginning we have had to simply trust that we were being lead to the perfect child for our family.

And let me tell you, there is absolutely no doubt that he is meant to be ours. All it took was one look into those eyes for my heart to know that I was his mommy. When we accepted Elias's referral, it was actually out of our age range. We had requested 0 - 12 months, and he was 15 months old. Our agency never really discussed why they had matched us with a child out of our age range, but I think that's because they didn't match us with him, God did. Elias is God's choice for our family.

This specific child was chosen just for us, and we are not complete without him. We are already so in love with him and cannot wait to bring him home! We are so grateful that God chose us for him and that through time and space and miles, he is building us into a forever family!

Psalm 68:6 God places the lonely in families;

Monday, October 25, 2010

All in a Day

What a difference a day makes!

Last night our adoption group from America World joined together in a prayer vigil, lifting up families and children in all stages of the adoption process. I always love the weeks following our prayer vigils. It is just so fun to watch God move! I prayed with such an expectant heart last night, already thanking God for what He would do this week.

So.... earlier today I posted that we were number 16 in line for a court date and we are now number SIX! Ten court dates issued in just one day, this day!! Thank you God, for this wonderful movement in bringing together forever families!

As excited as we are to have moved so far up the list, we were also hit with a huge dose of disappointment with this news. The court dates that were issued today were all for mid - late December. This is much later than anyone anticipated. I'm not sure why there were no dates issued for November or early December, but it is a bit crushing to know that we may not be given a court date until January. I want so badly to be with our son right now and the idea that I have two or three more months to wait is heartbreaking.

International adoptions are so often unpredictable and we have been told many times to expect the unexpected, so this new delay shouldn't be cause for much surprise, but it still hurts. None of this surprises our Heavenly Father though. He will not allow our son to remain in Ethiopia for one day longer than he is supposed to. We will be united together in His perfect timing. He has asked me to let go and to fully trust Him, and daily I have to make the choice to do so.

Please pray for our family as we endure this extended wait to be with our son.

Trusting and believing,

Court Update

When we received our referral, we joined a line of families waiting for court dates in Ethiopia. A new waiting list to follow! We were originally number 20, and we're now up to number 16! Not a huge leap, but moving in the right direction!

Because the courts were closed in Ethiopia during August and September, there is quite a backlog of families still waiting for court dates. Some families received their referrals in July and are still waiting, so we know it will still be several more weeks. It looks like Ethiopia is issuing about 5 dates a week, so we may have our court date in about a month, which is so exciting to think about!

Of course, we'd love nothing more than to be there NOW! After we received our referral, I just wanted to hop right on the plane and head to Ethiopia to be with our son. I heard once that each step in the adoption process is the hardest, and that is so true! I thought waiting for our referral was the hardest, but now that I've seen his sweet face and have fallen completely in love with him, I just want to go and get him! Waiting for our court date is definitely the hardest... so far!

Once we have a court date, we'll make travel plans to be in Ethiopia for about a week. We'll meet Elias and be able to spend time with him each day and also have time for sightseeing and visiting the orphanages and care centers that we're taking donations to. After our court appointment, we'll have to return home and wait for the embassy to issue him a passport and visa and then we can return to Ethiopia to finally bring him HOME!!!

Please continue to pray that we will receive a quick court date!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

First Care Package!

It has been two weeks since we received our referral, and my heart is aching for my son. I want so badly to hold him in my arms. I want to tell him how much we love him and can't wait to bring him home. I want him to know that he is no longer an orphan. He has a forever family! Since I cannot be there in person with him, I am just yearning for any connection to him.

Right after we received our referral, we got an e-mail from the Gowin family, who is also adopting from Ethiopia with our adoption agency. They will be heading to Ethiopia next week for their court date and they offered to take a care package to Elias for us! While they are there, they will have the chance to meet him, love on him, deliver our care package and take photos of him. We are so excited! It makes me so emotional to think about someone holding our sweet boy, telling him all about us and how much we love him. Thank you Gowins for this blessing to our family!!

Shopping for Elias for the first time was so much fun (and truthfully, a bit emotional too). The outfit we picked out for him has a number 4 on the shirt, which we thought was so perfect since he is our fourth child. We also put together a family photo album for him. We filled the inside with pictures of us so Elias could see his family for the first time! (The outside of the album has a picture of him, which I had to blur here on our blog.) Each sister also picked out a small car to send to him. We are so excited for this first care package and for the connection it gives us to our son.

Friday, October 15, 2010

And He Shall Be Called...

Does he have a name yet?

We've been asked this question quite a bit lately, and the answer is... Yes, he does!

Obviously, with three daughters named Emma, Ellie and Erin, we've created a bit of tradition when it comes to naming our children. We didn't start out that way, but after the first two, we didn't want to leave out the third, and now we definitely don't want to leave out the fourth.

So, we've known all along that we wanted to name our son an "E" name. We tossed around several ideas (Ezra, Evan, Ezekiel, Elijah), but also kept in mind that if he happened to be given a name in Ethiopia that began with an "E" that we would keep that as his first name. So, we did not officially name him until after we received our referral and learned of his Ethiopian name. The name he was given by his birthmother is beautiful and has a very special meaning to him and his birth family. We love it dearly, but it begins with a "G." (Unfortunately, we can't share it here until we've passed court in Ethiopia and he legally becomes our son.) His Ethiopian name is such a special gift to him from his birth family and really is the only thing he will be bringing with him when we are able to bring him home. It is also a special connection he will always have to his culture and his heritage. So we have decided to keep his Ethiopian name as his middle name and for his first name...


Elias is actually a somewhat common name in Ethiopia; which is really special to us, and it means, "the Lord is God." What a great statement of faith! We love the name and we love the boy whose name it is.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Referral Acceptance!!

Today we officially accepted our referral! This means that we have chosen to accept this child into our family. Without a doubt, without hesitation, and with tremendous joy, we signed the papers! He is our son! Our family is incredibly blessed by this amazing little boy God has chosen for us!!

So what happens next? Once our adoption agency receives all of our referral acceptance paperwork, they will turn in the necessary documents to the Ethiopian courts. The courts will then issue us a court date, and we will begin making travel arrangements! We are hoping this will be sometime in late November or early December. We absolutely cannot wait to meet our son in person and to finally hold him in our arms. I want so badly to be with him right now. I want to assure him that he has a family who loves him dearly and cannot wait to bring him home! Please continue to pray that Ethiopia will issue us a court date SOON!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

It Wasn't a Dream!

We really did get the call! It actually happened!! : )

Saturday, October 9, 2010


"I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of Him." 1 Samuel 1:27

WE GOT THE CALL!!! We received our referral yesterday for the most gorgeous 15 month old baby boy!!! He is just adorable, and we are so in love with him already!

We could not have been more shocked or surprised when our phone call came yesterday evening. Just 24 hours earlier, after I had spoken with our family coordinator, I was crying tears of frustration and discouragement. I was overwhelmed in that moment at how emotionally draining the waiting had become. I was telling Charlie how I didn't think I was strong enough to keep going and begging God to equip my heart for the toll this journey was taking on me. In that moment of weakness, there was a precious baby boy halfway around the world getting ready to be introduced to his mama for the very first time!!

We had been invited by some local adoption friends to meet at an Ethiopian restaurant for dinner last night, so around 5:00 the girls and I were upstairs getting ready to leave. Charlie was downstairs in our office finishing up some last minute work. When the phone rang, I thought absolutely nothing of it. In fact, when I heard Charlie say, "Laura, its a 703 call!! (the area code for our adoption agency)" I completely thought he was kidding. I looked up at the clock, saw that it was 5:13 pm, and knew most definitely that my dear husband was playing an awfully mean joke! I continued to get the girls ready like nothing was going on. I even heard him say, "Is this our referral call?" and still I thought he was kidding! I couldn't believe he was taking it that far, but I was still convinced it was a joke. When I did finally come downstairs, I saw that he was crying and he said, "I'm going to hand Laura the phone now and I'll go get another one so we can both listen in." OH. MY. GOODNESS. This was actually it! Our call!!!!

Our family coordinator began telling us about this most beautiful baby boy, but I was crying and laughing so much, I'm not sure much of what she said was even registering! I remember at one point saying, "Are you going to e-mail this information to us because there is no way I'll remember everything you're telling us!" Charlie, although quite emotional, kept such a wonderful presence of mind. He though to ask all kinds of great questions. I, on the other hand, was just an emotional mess and totally in a state of disbelief. Our oldest daughter said later, "Mom, you just kept saying, 'Oh my gosh,' through that whole phone call, and we're not even supposed to say that!"

After we hung up the phone, we were in the greatest state of shock. Did that really just happen?!? We have a son?!? Within just a minute, we received our referral e-mail. We called the girls in with us and all sat down together to see our baby's face for the first time. I don't know that there are even words to describe the emotions of finally seeing the child God has chosen for your family. Twelve months and three days of waiting, praying, dreaming, imaging, hoping... all for this moment! There were lots of tears, lots of laughter, and lots of love. We knew immediately that this was our child. What an amazing moment that we will always cherish!

The most fun part of the evening came when we had the privilege to call our closest family and friends to share the news!! Most of them rushed right over, and within just a few minutes our house was filled with family and friends, all hugging, crying, and marveling over this most amazing gift we had been given. This sweet boy is already so loved and we are so blessed to be surrounded by such amazing support! We love all of you who made this day so incredibly special for us!

I didn't sleep much at all last night. I kept staring at his adorable pictures, memorizing every small detail, and dreaming of our future with him. My head is still spinning this morning, trying to grasp the realities of it all. WE HAVE A SON!!! I am just in awe at this gift God has given us.

I wish so much that we could share his pictures with you. He is just darling! He has the most adorable smile, gorgeous eyes, beautiful lips and the cutest curly brown hair!! We know that you will fall in love with him too when you see him! Unfortunately, we can't post any pictures of him until we pass court in Ethiopia and he becomes legally and officially ours. For now, you'll just have to take our word for it!

Thank you so much for all of your prayers that have gotten us through so far! Please continue to pray for our family as we are now anxiously awaiting a court date in Ethiopia. Please pray specifically for our son that his heart will be open to accepting us as his family, that he is being well loved and cared for in our agency's transition home, and that he will continue to be healthy and happy. Thank you all so much!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

One Year Ago...

Whoa! Check out our ticker and the milestone we reached today...

One year ago today, I sat nervously in the parking lot of our local post office, anxiously praying over a large envelope I held in my lap. It was a Monday morning and after spending all weekend filling out our first adoption application, it was ready to be mailed. We knew it was time to take the first, enormous step in our adoption journey. (Or I knew it. My husband wasn't quite as sure back then.)

I prayed that if it was God's will, we would be accepted into the Ethiopia program. I prayed for our family and for the changes that we would be making. I prayed for our future son, whoever and wherever he was. And then I mailed it. Yikes!!

Over the course of this last year, we've been poked, prodded, questioned and quizzed. We've completed mounds of paperwork. We've prepared our home and our hearts for a new family member. We've fallen completely in love with a precious baby we've never met and the beautiful country of his birth.

We've learned a lot about our faith and grown in our trust in God. We're hopefully a bit wiser and definitely more patient.

We have a son who has grown in our hearts each and every day since we began our adoption process. He is not yet in our arms, but that time will come. God knows the exact time for that, and we'll rejoice when that day comes. Until then, we continue to wait. Each day bringing us one step closer to him and to One who called us to this journey.

"Father to the fatherless, defender of widows - this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families;" Psalm 68:5-6

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Showered With Love!

Dear Sweet Boy,

We are surrounded by a wonderful group of family and friends, and I cannot wait until we can bring you home and introduce you to them. They love you so much without ever having seen your face or even knowing your name.

I have known for about a month that my girlfriend, Tina, was planning a special day for me, in honor of you! (She tried to tell me the day would be all about me, but let's be honest... it was all about you, little one!!) I wasn't told anything else about the day, only to get a babysitter for your sisters and be ready to go at 2:00. I knew she picked the date, October 2, because she was so absolutely sure that we would know who you were by then. When the close of business hours came on Friday, October 1, I was just heartbroken to have not received your referral yet. I wanted so badly to be able to share you with our friends and to show them who it was we were celebrating. I was so disappointed, but you know what? It didn't matter one bit. They loved you just the same! We are blessed.

The afternoon was amazing! I was surprised with a trip down to the beautiful Oliver Winery in Bloomington. Several friends (Tina, Stephanie, Melissa, and Kathryn) rode down with us in a party van driven by Daddy and Brian, and when we got there, Grammy, Donna, Terrylee, and Aunt Kristen were there waiting for us! What an awesome surprise!! The tables were beautiful, the food was delicious, the fellowship was fabulous, and the gifts were more than we could have asked for.

I am so grateful for this special day and for all of the people who are helping us prepare to bring you home! We were truly showered with love!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Six Months DTE!

Today is our six month DTE anniversary, and I am embracing it with such excitement! I am so hopeful that this will be our last DTE anniversary and that we will soon be introduced to our son!

Peacefully waiting...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

We're Next!!

On Friday, our family moved into the NUMBER ONE spot on the waiting list for a baby boy! We're next... and we're thrilled!! We cannot wait to get "the call" and to know that our agency has matched us with a baby; to see his face, to know his name, and to know that he is ours. Just knowing that we are this much closer makes my heart so happy!

We would love to ask you to pray for our family and for our new son as we are eagerly waiting to be joined together!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Wearing our Hearts on our Sleeves

I wish sometimes that the wait for our child was more visible, like a growing pregnancy. Our son is growing each day in our hearts, but it isn't obvious to others like it would be if I were pregnant. So instead we wear our hearts on our sleeves, showing off our love for him and Africa, on our shirts!

Sunday, September 19, 2010


We are STILL here!

We are STILL "On Deck!"

We are STILL number TWO on the waiting list!

We are STILL waiting...

We heard from our family coordinator about two weeks ago that it may be the end of September or early October before there are any new baby boy referrals. The Transition Home run by our adoption agency has recently received a group of baby girls, but no baby boys yet. And because of the court closures currently going on in Ethiopia, the Transition Home is really full right now, since no new families are able to travel during this time. So, we continue to wait.

Honestly, its hard for me to believe that we began our adoption journey almost one year ago and STILL have not seen our son's face. We have been DTE for almost 6 months and STILL do not know the child God has chosen for our family. But even though this journey might be taking longer than I thought, it is so comforting to know that none of this is surprising to my heavenly Father. He orchestrated our steps long before we ever took the first one. His plans, His timing, His purpose is perfect.

So, while we continue to wait, I am STILL and at peace, trusting Him fully.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Five Months DTE

I never, ever thought I would type this, but today is our 5 month DTE anniversary. When we originally mailed our dossier to Ethiopia, the expected wait time for a baby boy was 3-5 months, so I never imagined we'd still be waiting for our son at the end of August. I know God's timing is perfect, and I don't question it for a minute, but my human heart is finding this period of waiting sooooo difficult.

We're still number TWO on the waiting list and have now received our "On Deck" status (which is the last step before referral), so we know our much-anticipated call is coming soon. In fact, my heart skips a beat every single time the phone rings!

I am filled with excitement, anxiety, anticipation and very little patience right now! : ) I just cannot wait to see the face of the child God has chosen for us! We have been called halfway around the world for this special boy, and we are so anxious to know who he is!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

On Deck!!

We received word today from our adoption agency that our family is "On Deck" to receive a referral!! This means we can expect our referral call at any time now! We knew we were getting close, but its so exciting that its now official!

We are so ready to see the face of our sweet baby boy!

Monday, August 23, 2010

My Heart is Aching

Sweet baby boy,

Tonight my heart is aching for you. You are halfway around the world in an orphanage and my heart is longing to bring you home. You have a family who loves you and you don't even know it yet. I haven't seen your face, I don't know your name, but I know God has chosen you for our family. I trust His plan and His timeline. You are His first, and I will rejoice when He reveals you to us. Until then, as I attempt to wait patiently for God's goodness to unfold in our lives, I am praying for you. I pray every single day for your precious heart. That you are well loved and cared for. That you are safe and healthy. I pray for your birth family. I am so grateful for their courage, but my heart breaks at the pain they feel to let you go. I pray for God's blessings and protection to cover you. You are my son. I am coming for you just as soon as I can. I love you with all that I have.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Almost There!

We found out last night that...

We are now number TWO on the waiting list for a baby boy!! There is one family ahead of us who has requested either a boy or girl, and then its us!! We share our place in line with two other families who have also requested baby boys, so we're all tied at number two! We know "The Call" could come as early as tomorrow, or could still be weeks away, but we're getting close and we are EXCITED!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Apparel Junkie!

Its true. I'm a total junkie. I have become completely addicted to adoption t-shirts and assorted adoption paraphernalia. (Not quite to the point where we should be staging an intervention, but could be getting close!) I love all of the great designs out there and all of the great causes needing support! In the last week, I've ordered five t-shirts and two necklaces, plus my amazing husband ordered me a necklace for my birthday! I love it all, and I love knowing that our purchases are helping families bring their children home or supporting organizations that are feeding and clothing the orphans and street children in Ethiopia. Check out some of my new favorites...

We ordered these ADORABLE Africa t-shirts (with a heart button over Ethiopia) for our three daughters. I am so excited about these! They were made by my adoption friend, Kim Jewett. Kim and her husband are selling these shirts (along with several other designs) to help raise money to bring their baby girl home from Ethiopia. Click on her name to read their blog and to see more of their shirt designs.

This beautiful necklace was a birthday present from my husband! (I really am a lucky girl!) He ordered it from Etsy seller, Junk Posse. When you purchase from Junk Posse, you help support several non-profit groups like Children's Hopechest. You can see her Etsy shop by clicking on the Junk Posse link.

This super cool shirt is from another adoption friend, Debb Marquez. Debb and her husband are raising money for their Ethiopian adoption as well and are hoping this shirt will help bring more awareness to adoption. The saying reads, "We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life, but those who make their journey home across time and miles, growing within the hearts of those who love them, are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us by God's very own hands." Isn't that great? The saying comes on several different styles of shirts and even a water bottle. Click on her name to see all of their designs!

These sweet bottlecap necklaces are being made by an eleven year old girl named Samantha. Her family is also adopting a little boy from Ethiopia. Samantha has a beautiful heart for orphans, and she has decided to sell these necklaces to help buy shoes for the many orphaned children in Ethiopia. In just two days, she has already sold enough necklaces to buy 17 pairs of shoes!! We bought three of these for our daughters, Emma, Ellie, and Erin who are really into bottlecaps right now. You can click on Samantha's name to read her blog and to be inspired by this amazing little girl!

These awesome shirts not only look good, but they do good too! They are being sold by the wonderful organization, Into the Streets of Ethiopia, which helps the most vulnerable and at-risk street children in Ethiopia. Each shirt costs $30 and will feed a child for THREE months! Buy a shirt, help feed a starving child. How great is that? Click on the link above to go to their website and find out more about how you can get involved!

I hope you might take a minute to check out some of these great items for yourself and see how easy it is to make a difference in the life of a child!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Four Months DTE!

Today is our four month DTE anniversary. My friend, Jackie, who shares our same DTE date said this earlier today, "Being DTE for month number 4 feels kinda like what I imagine turning 40 will feel like... thankful we made it, but not real thrilled to be here either!" I had been (not so secretly) hoping that we might have had our referral by now and wouldn't be celebrating this four-month milestone, but we continue to trust that this waiting period is all in God's hands.

My devotional this morning seems to have been written just for me. It was entitled, "The Wait." I couldn't think of anything more appropriate or timely for our family as we endure this time of waiting. I was reminded through this devotional about David being chosen as King of Israel that...
  1. God's ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.
  2. Even though we have been anointed and appointed, we may still have to wait.
  3. God doesn't waste time; He holds it in His hands and He redeems it by using our experiences to prosper us.
  4. God does not ignore the cries of His children, and He will not let us down.
  5. Our waiting has a purpose for someone other than ourselves. It is not all about us.
  6. If we let it, our waiting will bring us a more intimate knowledge of our Savior.
Waiting is less difficult and the future brighter when we let God do His work in our waiting and when we allow Him to bring His plans for our lives to fullness.

"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." Psalm 27:14

Lord... We are eagerly waiting!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Make Room for Baby

The carpet installers just arrived and the official preparations for baby Herwehe are now underway! We decided when we began our adoption journey that Ellie and Erin would share a room (they are the closest in age and the youngest) Emma, as the oldest, would have her own room, and baby boy would be in the nursery. The problem is that Emma is currently in the largest room, so Ellie and Erin will need to move into that room, Emma will need to move into Ellie's room, and Erin will need to move out of the nursery to make room for baby! Whew. Confused yet?

Since we had to empty out all of the bedrooms anyway for the new carpet, we decided it just made sense to go ahead and switch all of the bedrooms around now. The kids are super-excited for their new bedrooms and the little ones think its so cool to be sharing a room (We'll be reminding them of this when they're teenagers!). The parents are a little less excited for all of the work that lies ahead in moving and reorganizing three bedrooms!

Daunting? Yes. Overwhelming? A little. Disorganized? Totally. Worth it? Absolutely!

Bring on the chaos...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Court Closures in Ethiopia

We received word from our adoption agency yesterday that the Ethiopian courts will be closed from August 6 - September 27. We knew this was coming. This happens every year during the rainy season in Ethiopia, but the time frame differs each year, so we weren't sure when to expect it. Apparently, when the rainy season is in full swing, the roads become so impassable that the court employees are not able to get to work and birth families are not able to travel into the city for the hearings, so the whole system comes to a stop. We had been praying not to get caught up in the court closures, but we know this is all in God's plan for our family.

What this means is that when we receive our referral (by the way we're currently #5 on the wait list!!), we will not be able to travel to Ethiopia for our court hearing until they reopen. Whenever our referral comes, we are now hoping and planning to make our first trip to Ethiopia in October. We would love to have our little one home by the end of the year, so if you're looking for something to pray for... please add us to your list! : )

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Let's Just Face It...

Number 1: The wait for our baby boy is getting hard.

Number 2: This was not my best idea on how to stay busy...

So, our family has been sitting at #7 on our agency's waiting list for three weeks now. THREE weeks with no baby boy referrals. Seven is my most favorite number, but I am so ready to give it up and move forward. I am constantly thinking about him... wondering what he looks like, how old he is, where he is at this very moment, and how soon we'll be able to know him.

I have been consumed lately with checking our agency's Yahoo group and facebook to see if anyone has gotten a referral, to see if we've moved at all in the line. I've actually found "excuses" to sit at the computer or work near the computer so I can hear when I get an e-mail. I know, I know. Patience...

So, Friday I decided to put all of my looniness aside and keep busy by sorting all of the boy clothes we've been given... brilliant, right? Emma and I worked hard all afternoon organizing sizes, pairing outfits and filling up storage totes. I was so busy working that I didn't even have time to think about our little guy and this long journey we're on to get to him. Yep. Not once. I never thought about how cute he'd look in the outfits. I didn't even let my mind wonder what colors would look best with his brown skin. Nope. Not at all. : ) Totally a break from crazy.

By the way... Have I mentioned lately how amazing our friends are? Look at all the clothes in that picture!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010


EVERY child at Trees of Glory care-center in Ethiopia now has a sponsor!!! What a difference this will make in the lives of these children! I am so excited to be a part of this ministry and cannot wait until we are there ourselves bringing donations and loving on these precious children!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Six Who Wait

If you've read any of our blog before, you surely have noticed that I am passionate about the orphans in Ethiopia. There are nearly 5 MILLION of them in this country we have fallen in love with.

We are so excited to have partnered with Children's Hopechest to sponsor a precious girl in Ethiopia. Every month, our $34 goes to helping provide food, medical needs, education, and Christian discipleship to this beautiful girl. But it doesn't stop at just her physical and educational needs. We are also sending letters and pictures to her, encouraging her, taking an interest in her life, and praying for her. We have her picture hanging up so that she is always on our minds.

The care center where our sponsor child is located is called Trees of Glory. We recently received this e-mail from the sponsorship coordinator, Karen Wistrom, updating us on Trees of Glory...

"This rural community (located 2 hours north of the capital city, Addis Ababa) has been very affected by famine and poverty. Most of the kids at TOG are double-orphans (meaning they have lost both parents) and are living with a relative or neighbor that is not able to provide for them. As a result, many of the kids were being "sold" as an indentured servant to local livestock owners to work night and day herding cattle.

What a heart-wrenching decision for these families to decide to "sell" one child in order to feed the other children in their care. Children's Hopechest discovered that many of the children were being paid about $12 PER YEAR for their labor. Without the intervention of the local government that is requiring the guardians to bring the children to the care-point, and Children's Hopechest who is setting up the sponsor program, these children would never have had the opportunity to go to school or rise up out of poverty!

Now that over half of the children are sponsored, we can fully implement a regular feeding program at Trees of Glory!!! As we match the remaining children with sponsors, we will be able to expand the feeding program to include 2 nutritious meals each day, along with protein (eggs and meat)! Sponsorship ensures that each child has food, clothing, medical care, education and Christian discipleship.

The Ethiopia staff of Children's Hopechest is already meeting with the kids every week - counseling, mentoring, teaching biblical stories and demonstrating the love of God for these kids. It is our hope that by September, we will be able to start a school on the grounds at TOG."

Now, here is the GREAT news... there are only 6 kids still waiting to be sponsored! In one month, 78 children have been matched with a sponsor family!! The financial commitment, letters, care, concern and prayers of these sponsor families is already having a tremendous impact on the lives of these children.

But what about the 6 who wait? When letters are received and names are called, do they yet realize that there is not a family for them?

If you have ever felt a tug in your heart for the orphans, please consider sponsoring a child. There are SIX who are waiting for someone to love them, provide for them, and change the course of their lives. Is one waiting for you?

Please contact Karen Wistrom (by clicking on her name) for more information on the children still waiting to be sponsored.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Three Months DTE!

Today is our three month DTE anniversary! This means we've now officially been waiting for our son for three months. When our dossier first arrived in Ethiopia, we were #18 in line for an infant boy. We're now #7! We were hoping at this point to be a little farther up the list, but the Ethiopia program has hit quite a few road bumps lately. At the beginning of June, the Ethiopian courts issued a new rule requiring each child's original birth certificate be located before a court date could be issued. This put a stop to families receiving court dates and referrals for almost three weeks while birth certificates were being found.

Our adoption agency's Yahoo Group decided to storm the gates of heaven and take all of our worries, frustrations and concerns to Jesus on Sunday night, June 20. We held a two-hour prayer vigil lifting up each family in each stage of the adoption process. Monday morning, June 21, the flood gates opened! This week has been amazing! So many new court dates, referrals, and travel dates have been issued! Praise the Lord for His goodness and for the blessings He has poured out over our adoption group!

Now that the ball has begun rolling again, we are really feeling hopeful that July might be the month we get to see our son's face. The closer we get, the harder the wait seems. I am literally aching to know my son. My heart aches to fall in love with him, my eyes ache to see his precious face, and my arms ache to hold him close and let him know that he is ours.

The Lord has placed on my heart many times throughout this journey, Isaiah 43:5, "Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west." I know that He has called us to this journey and He is the one orchestrating each step. His timing is perfect, and when the wait gets difficult, that is where I rest.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

You Know You're an Adoptive Parent if:

You know you're an adoptive parent (or should be) if...

1. The fact that there are 147 million children without a parent to kiss them goodnight has made you lose sleep.

2. You realize that DNA has nothing to do with love and family.

3. You can't watch Adoption Stories on TLC without sobbing.

4. The fact that, if 7% of Christians adopted 1 child there would be no orphans in the world, is convicting to you.

5. You spend free time surfing blogs about families who have experienced the blessing of adoption.

6. It drives you crazy when people ask you about an adopted child's "real" parents.

7. You have ever been "pregnant" with your adoptive child longer than it takes an elephant to give birth (2 years!).

8. You had no idea how you would afford to adopt, but stepped out in faith anyway, knowing where God calls you, He will provide.

9. You have ever taken an airplane ride half-way around the world with a child you just met.

10. You believe God's heart is for adoption.

11. You realize that welcoming a child into your heart and family is one of the most important legacies you could ever leave on this earth.

12. You know what "dossier" means, and you can actually pronounce it!

13. You have welcomed a social worker into the most private parts of your life.

14. You shudder when people say your child is so lucky that you adopted them, knowing full well you are the blessed one to have him or her in your life.

Author Unknown

Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day

Yesterday was Father's Day, and I spent the day celebrating the two wonderful fathers in my life... the one I was lucky enough to be born to and the one I was lucky enough to marry. But I also spent the day thinking of our son in Ethiopia. Yesterday he spent the day fatherless. Next year though, he'll be celebrating with a daddy who loves him and wants him more than anything!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Drum Roll Please.....

WOW! We are truly in awe of how many people donated, shopped, helped, spread the word, and prayed for us during our sale to raise money for the orphans in Ethiopia. God really worked in a BIG way this weekend! We had a goal in mind of $1000. And after two days, we raised..... $1968! Isn't that amazing?!? When we add in the additional money given to us as donations, we raised a total of $2568! We are so thankful for God's goodness to us, and are so excited to start shopping for all of the needed items for the orphanages and care-centers we will visit while we're in Ethiopia! Thank you to everyone who played a part in this weekend. It was a bit overwhelming at times, and we couldn't have done it without the help of our dear friends and family. We especially want to thank Brian and Tina Billingsly. None of this would have been possible without them!!

Our HUGE sale in progress!

Brian and Charlie manning the sale with a little help from Erin

Emma, Ellie and Erin were so excited to have a lemonade and cookie stand so that they, too, could do their part in helping raise money. We were so proud of them!