Monday, May 26, 2008

4 Months and Lots of Busyness!

Happy Memorial Day! This is a special day to remember all of our loved ones who have gone before us, but especially to show our gratitude for those who have done so defending our country. Thank you! Words can not adequately express our thankfulness.

Yesterday marked our 4th month of waiting for baby Caleb. I want to say that we are well over halfway through waiting for our referral, but at this time, we are not sure of the current time frame. Hopefully it will not increase from the 5-7 month time frame we were given. As soon as we know, I will be sure to post it. At any rate, it is exciting to have been waiting for four months. The best is yet to come!

In other news, I am taking two graduate courses this summer. A good idea, I thought a few months ago, as we were sure that Caleb would be here this fall, and taking two courses would not be feasible. Well, I still think it is a good idea to get them over with, but to say that I have been busy with the required work would be an understatement! One really exciting aspect is that one of the courses is all about diversity and understanding not only other cultures, but also understanding your own reaction to other cultures (self awareness). What a perfect class for a soon to be mom of a precious child of another race. I am already being challenged by the material. I hope to share some of what I am learning in the coming posts (which may be far and few between until at least one course is complete :)

I also hope to share any updated news on the adoption front soon as well. Just keep praying! A few more families have secured court and travel dates, which is great news. However, many more are still waiting. And we are all still waiting to hear a report from our program director about what all went on while she was in Ethiopia.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Please Pray for the Chapman Family

Please pray for the Steven Curtis Chapman family. Yesterday, their youngest daughter, Maria, who they adopted from China, was killed in a tragic accident. You can follow this link to read more about this story. This is so heartbreaking. I don't really know how to put it into words. Steven Curtis Chapman and his entire family are such advocates for adoption, and love children so much. Just keep them in your prayers.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Red Letters Campaign

Our blog is officially a Red Letters Campaign Blog! What is RLC? Check out this link:

Or watch this video:

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Miracle of the Moment....

God spoke to me in a mighty way this weekend regarding the circumstances surrounding Ethiopia and our adoption. Though the problems facing Ethiopia as a country right now are real, and though the issues surrounding our adoption and the waiting are real as well, God implored me to realize the miracle of each moment that he has given me here on this earth, instead of wishing the hard times away. I realized I was focusing much more on the negative circumstances than on God's awesome power and the blessing of each day. It is true, each day is a gift! And each day, each moment, a miracle. Here is exactly what God has been speaking to me, put into words by Steven Curtis Chapman:

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Stressful Week....

This week has been a tough one for our Ethiopia families, but we did have some good news...good news first :)

The West family had a successful court date this week! They are now waiting for their travel plans to be scheduled. Also, the Vanwetten family received "half" of their referral this week for a ten year old girl. They are now waiting for the referral of their other child, an infant.

The not so good news....

The Kidd family has not had a successful court date, and they are now are awaiting their fourth attempt at a successful court appointment- the date is set for May 19th. Please keep them in your prayers.

There are many factors that are contributing to the unsuccessful court date for the Kidd family. This is part of the bad news.

First and foremost, Ethiopia is currently experiencing electricity "rationing" which means that the electricity is being turned off in Ethiopia for several hours each day in an attempt to save power. Why? There was a drought last fall during the rainy season which has resulted in the levels of water in the electric hydro plants being low. For more info, see this article:

These outages are expected to last through the summer. As you can imagine, having no power means some tasks do not get done, or at least not done in a timely fashion. No faxing, emailing, printing, copying, etc. equals a slowdown in all aspects of the adoption process, unfortunately.

The power outages have also disrupted communication between adoptive families and adoption agencies and officials, which is really taking a toll on the families, no matter where they are in the adoption process. Families who have passed court have not heard about their travel plans, families who are waiting on court dates have no idea when they may be scheduled, families at the top of the list waiting for referrals have not heard any news about how long their wait might continue. And of course, families in our position can only watch with high levels of anxiety as we see what is unfolding in the journeys of the families before us. It has been a stressful week.

Also, the wait times for referrals have now exceeded the most recent estimates (5-7 months). The Redfern family has been waiting for a referral of an infant boy for 7 months and almost two weeks, and as far as I know, have no word on when to expect a referral. At this time, we are unsure if this means that the wait times for our agency have officially increased, or if this is just an unusual circumstance, given the current situation in Ethiopia. No one really knows, but hopefully this question will be addressed soon.

At any rate, we obviously would appreciate your prayers for our family, and for all the families involved in the adoption process, for our agency staff both here in the US, and in Ethiopia, and for the children who must continue to be without their forever families.

We are hopeful that next week will bring some answers, as our program director will be returning to the US from Ethiopia.

We trust in Christ through this unsure time, and rely on him to be our peace and strength.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

What A Guy....

My husband sent me this sweet poem he wrote this morning.....much better than any anniversary card....and I just had to post it. What a guy :)

For the laundry you clean,
For the broccoli you steam;
I love you,
For all that you do.

For the ground that you landscape,
For the room that you renovate;
I love you,
For all that you do.

For the floors that you sweep,
For the job that you keep;
I love you,
For all that you do.

For watching softball
For following your call;
I love you,
For all that you do.

It was then that I realized,
Though I was on par,
What you do is important,
But I love you for who you are.

It's your brilliant smile and your brilliance;
Your warm touch and your warmth,
That reminds me each day how blessed I am.
That's who you are.

It's your heartfelt compassion and your compassionate heart;
Your wholesome integrity and your innate mother-to-be,
That reminds me each day how blessed I am.
That's who you are.

It's your amazing stength and your unending resilience;
Your selfless giving and your absolute giving of self,
That reminds me each day how blessed I am.
That's who you are

Though what you do speaks to who you are--
It is but a reflection of the One you mirror.
That's what drew me to you not long ago,
And fuels my desire to only draw nearer.

That is who you are.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Today marks our 4 year wedding anniversary!

It is hard to believe that four years ago we were just young college students living in an campus apartment that was maybe 500 square feet. It had lovely concrete block walls and the kitchen was so small you could sit at our kitchen table and reach the fridge, stove and sink. But we had lots of love....everything we needed!

We made it through college...finally :)

We bought our first needed a lot of work....we made it through that, with the help of family and friends. Our first home!!

We adopted our first "baby".

And soon, we will be real parents!

Through it all, we have always had our love...thank you God, for love!

I am very thankful for the blessing of marriage!

Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned.

Song of Solomon 8:7

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

1 Peter 4:8

Monday, May 5, 2008

Evaluating the Wait Times & More "There Is No Me....

Friday this was posted on the AWAA blog:

Hello Ethiopia Families!
I wanted to give a bit of an update to help families who are tying to speculate when they might be expecting their referrals. (this would be us :)

On April 25th four families received their referrals. From this we can see the current wait times:
Infant Boy: DTE: 10/5/2007 (this would be us as well :)
Infant Girl: DTE: 8/30/2007
Toddler: DTE: 10/15/2007
Waiting Children: DTE: 3/19/2008

Families please use these dates to evaluate how much longer your wait time might be.
Thank you and congratulations again to these families who received referrals!

So, I did a little evaluating: from 10/5/07 to 4/25/07 is about 7 months...6 months and 3 weeks, or something like that. So, the current wait time is closer to 7 months. This is kind of a bummer....well, it is a bummer, because this means that most likely a referral will not come for us until August. Because the courts in Ethiopia are closed from August-October, this means we most likely will not be traveling to get our little guy until November or December. We knew this was a possibility, but we were holding onto that 5 month window, which would have put us at the end of June, first of July. Oh well. God is teaching us much through this wait, and this will only provide the opportunity for more learning. And you never know what God has planned :)

Yes, I do have more to say about the book, There Is No Me Without You. I just can't even believe that this book is real...not the book itself, but what is contained inside. Trust me, I want it to be fiction, but it's not. It is truly unbelievable. I am starting to see that maybe this calling on our lives is even bigger than adoption! What exactly that means, I do not know right now. But I trust that God will continue to speak to us about it. In the mean time, visit this link and click on the slide show in the bottom left corner.