Friday, September 24, 2010

Not the Best News....

Well, we got some disappointing news today. The embassy in Ethiopia still does not have our updated approval information from USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), so this means that until they have it, we can not go to our embassy appointment. The chances of us having it in time to leave for our original embassy date of October 6th are basically ZERO, so this means we will now have to wait until October 20th to attend embassy. Major bummer! Though we are super sad, we are most upset for Noah, as he must continue to wait for us. We wonder what he is thinking?? We pray someone is explaining to him why we haven't come for him yet. It is really hard for us to be here without him.

The issue has something to do with the fact that we are living with my parents, and thus the home study was conducted with all four of us, instead of just Zack and I. If there are any individuals in the home over the age of 18, they also have to be interviewed, fingerprinted, etc. for the home study. This was done, and everything was documented in our home study, so we really are at a loss as to what else USCIS is needing, but we pray it is something simple that can be added to the home study and sent to USCIS asap so that we won't be delayed any longer! Please pray with us that this can happen. If for some reason they wanted my parents to have additional background checks (we have no reason to believe this) it could delay the process several more weeks. We should be receiving a letter tomorrow or Monday telling us what they need. Wow, what a ride adoption is!

Some good news, however, is that one of my best childhood friends, Tennille, has agree to accompany me to Ethiopia! We were originally planning on Zack going, but after some thought, it seemed to make more sense for him to use his time away from work spending quality time with Noah, instead of traveling. However, it isn't the easiest thing in the world to find someone willing, able, and actually interested in going to Ethiopia :) But, Tennille is, and we are both so excited!! I told her it will be the ultimate road trip, and that the only thing I could guarantee her is that it would be a trip she would never ever forget!

Last weekend, we all went to see the African Children's Choir perform, and they were awesome!! We dressed Caleb up in his traditional Ethiopia outfit we bought him during our first trip to Ethiopia, and boy did he look so handsome and sooo Ethiopian. When the children first came out onto the stage, Caleb had a very strange reaction. He almost seemed scared, and he wouldn't look at the children. However, after a few songs, he really started enjoying himself and by the time it was over, he loved it!! He has been playing the cd we bought and singing along with it ever since. It was really a moving experience to see these children, and to also see the church at full capacity! I think God moved in many hearts through these beautiful children.

Then, just yesterday, we took Caleb to the World Chicken Festival, an annual festival held here in London each year. It was his first time ever to ride "kiddie rides" and boy did he like that! He did not, however, like funnel cake. That is probably a good thing! Unfortunately, Zack and I love funnel cake. Oh well. We only eat it like maybe a couple times a year :)

We covet your prayers for a quick resolution to our USCIS issues. We really, really, REALLY want to bring Noah home asap!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

In My Own Little World......

What if there's a bigger picture......
What if there's a greater purpose......
Outside my own little world.....
God very often uses music and lyrics to speak to me,
and I hope this song speaks to you as well.....

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Welcome Noah....And Microfinance!!!!

This past weekend we were given a shower for Noah at our church by some of my close friends. They did such a great job of making the shower awesome! Great food, great decorations, and great fellowship. Noah is one lucky guy, and is going to have everything he needs thanks to the generosity of our friends and family. Above are just a few pictures (the cake note only tasted great, it was sooo cute- my favorite!)

This evening, we were given the tremendous blessing to speak to a sweet and precious church about adoption. We originally had prepared to speak to the youth group, but when we arrived, they asked if we could speak to the church- of course, we excitedly said, YES I had prepared a short slide presentation of our time in Ethiopia and then 3 major Biblical points about adoption/orphans- our spiritual adoption, what God says about the orphan, and what He expects us to do. The church received what God had to say through us with such love and grace. The whole experience was just such a blessing!
When we asked if anyone had any questions a young boy, probably about 8 years old raised his hand and asked how someone could donate to an orphanage- what a sweet young man! He talked to us after the service and he is so interested in donating supplies for us to take back to Ethiopia, and in giving a microfinance loan through World Vision's awesome microfinance program. If you haven't checked this out, you really need to. It is an amazing way to give people in other countries the opportunity they need to turn their ideas into tangible ways to sustain themselves and those around them- check out this link for more info!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

We're Bringing Him Home!!!

Today we received word that our embassy appointment had been confirmed- but we also were given two different dates to choose from...hmmm, interesting! The first, which we had been told about in Ethiopia, was for September 20! That would mean we would need to leave a week from today or tomorrow to get to Ethiopia in plenty of time. Wow! The other date we were given as an option was October 6.

As soon as I found out the dates, I called Zack and emailed our amazing travel agent. I then immediately began praying that God would lead us to make the best decision for our family. I prayed that he would make it abundantly clear if we were too not choose the sooner date. Of course, we instinctively wanted to take the soonest date. We want to be with Noah Nigus as soon as we can. However, after praying that God would lead us to make the best decision, I began to realize just how extremely crazy the next week would be. First of all, we have yet to be able to spend a night in our new home (we are dealing with a non-functional shower, and it is the only one in the house), and we were really hoping for a little time there so Caleb could adjust to his new home before he also has to adjust to a new brother. Also, there are lots of loose ends I need to tie up at work (and if we left in a week I would be working every day, and probably on the weekend too :). And finally, the flights are several hundred dollars cheaper in October. So, after much prayer and thought, we have decided to choose the October date. It is only two weeks later than the original date we were given, and we can live with that!

It is so refreshing to actually have a "for sure" date that we can plan for. Tomorrow is our shower at church for Noah, and we are super excited about that as well.

To continue to prepare for Noah's homecoming, I have been reading a book called The Connected Child. It is a book for anyone who has welcomed children from adoption, trouble backgrounds, etc. It is written by an amazing Christian doctor with lots of experience in adoption and child psychology. It has been so helpful and has helped us prepare for what we may or may not face once Noah comes home. We also continue to pray for God to open his heart to us, and for our hearts to be understanding and patient with him as he adjusts to a totally new life. It is our honor to be his new family! We are so thankful.

I have also been speaking (via email) about how to facilitate changing Noah's name. For a child that can't yet understand English, how do you explain to them that there name is changing? We thought strongly about not changing his name and pronouncing Nigus
(which is pronounced Ni-goo-so in Amharic) as Ni-jus. I really love that, and we did decide to keep his name with that pronunciation as his middle name. But, as a first name, we were just too worried that people would pronounce it completely wrong, and that could be bad (just think about it). Anyway, thankfully I have received great advice from other parents that have successfully changed their children's names. Their advice, which makes perfect sense, is to begin calling the child by their American first name, and incorporating their Ethiopian name into their middle name. So, for example, when we address Nigus, we will say, "Noah Nigus (but pronounce Nigus with the Amharic pronunciation).

Tonight while we were working some more on our house, Caleb was playing in his and Noah's room and bouncing around on his bed. I looked over at the other bed. It looks really cute as it is decorated with a cute comforter and pillow (thanks mom). But one thing is still missing :) How awesome it will be to look into this cute room and see both my boys!