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

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!